Lemon’s Three-Hit Gem Shuts Out Nats; Indians 6, Senators 0
Bob Toth | On 17, Feb 2016
August 29, 1948
Unaffected by the 90-plus degree temperatures in the nation’s capital, Bob Lemon limited the Senators to just three hits to record his second consecutive complete game shutout and his third in four starts, as the Cleveland Indians defeated Washington in the first of two at Griffith Stadium on Sunday, 6-0.
Lemon (18-11) remained locked in for the Tribe. He won his fifth decision of August while blanking the Senators for nine scoreless frames. He walked three and allowed three singles in the ball game. Six Senators took a seat via strikeout.
The shutout was the third of the month for Lemon, who threw a four-hit complete game shutout against the Boston Red Sox just four days ago. Ten days before that, he completed a seven-hit complete game shutout against the Chicago White Sox.
He now has nine shutouts on the season, one short of the franchise record for the Indians.
“It wasn’t as hot on the mound today as it was in Boston,” said Lemon, “but, brother, was it hot in the dugout. In Boston, the dugout was shaded, but here the sun streams right in and you can’t get a breath of air. I was always glad to get out of the dugout and back on the mound.”
In addition to chasing Indians’ history, Lemon is also just one strikeout behind Philadelphia’s Lou Brissie for the American League lead.
After stranding a pair in scoring position in the first against Washington’s rookie left-hander Forrest Thompson, the Indians struck through on the scoreboard in the second inning. Larry Doby reached on an error at second base by Al Kozar. After Eddie Robinson struck out, Jim Hegan drew a walk. Lemon grounded out to first, moving both runners up. Dale Mitchell dropped a single in to left, scoring both base runners and giving the Indians the early 2-0 advantage.
A solo home run by Joe Gordon to start the sixth inning increased the Indians lead to 3-0. It was the 23rd home run of the year for the Indians’ second baseman, who drove the ball more than 400 feet to the stands in left field.
Cleveland added some extra run support for Lemon in the ninth. Hegan singled to center with one out in the inning. Lemon doubled to center, scoring Hegan with the Indians’ fourth run of the afternoon. A single to second by Mitchell moved Lemon up to third. Bob Kennedy, who had entered the game for Allie Clark in the seventh, reached on an error at short by Mark Christman, allowing Lemon to score and Mitchell to move up safely to second. A single by Lou Boudreau loaded the bases, and Gordon knocked in the sixth run of the day with a sacrifice fly to left field for the final run of the game.
The Senators were only able twice to get a runner to second base, once in the second after a two-out walk was followed by a single, and again in the eighth with two outs, when Jake Early and Jim Clark reached on back-to-back singles, just the second and third hits of the ball game off of Lemon.
There was speculation that some of Lemon’s success was due to the addition of a screwball used against the left-handed batters in the Nationals’ lineup.
“I don’t throw a screwball,” Lemon countered the accusation after the game. “It was a change of pace, but I give it an inside twist and it does break away, I guess. I was throwing everything but my shirt at them.”
Thompson (4-7) took the loss after allowing three runs in eight innings. Just one of the runs was earned, due in part to three errors behind him in the field. He allowed seven hits, walked one, and struck out five.
The win ended the Indians brief two-game losing skid and improved their record to 73-49 on the season. It gives the club an opportunity to gain on both Boston and New York, who have doubleheaders of their own today.
Don Black (2-2, 6.34 ERA) will start the second game of the day’s doubleheader. He has not appeared on the mound for the Indians since August 11, when he allowed three runs in an inning of relief in a 12-4 loss to the St. Louis Browns.
Early Wynn (7-15, 5.35) is scheduled to take the ball for the Nats. He has lost four consecutive outings and eight games in total since his last win on June 25 against Cleveland, when he limited the Indians to two runs in a complete game victory.
Photo: AP Photo