Ten-Run Onslaught Paces Zoldak to Victory; Indians 10, Senators 1
Bob Toth | On 08, Mar 2016
September 18, 1948
Behind the strong effort of Sam Zoldak on the mound, the Cleveland Indians won a third straight game to sweep the hapless Washington Senators on Saturday afternoon, 10-1.
With the series sweep, the Indians defeated a team that they needed to beat and improved to 87-55 on the season. They kept pace with the first place Boston Red Sox, who came from behind to defeat the St. Louis Browns. They picked up a full game on the New York Yankees, who were dealt a 4-3 loss at the hands of Detroit’s Hal Newhouser, shrinking their lead to a half-game on the Indians.
The Indians have now won ten of their last 12. The Senators leave town after extending their losing streak to 18 games, two short of the Major League record. Cleveland finished 16-6 against Washington this season.
Zoldak (11-10) was the story on the mound, limiting the Senators to just five hits while throwing a complete game for Cleveland. Just one Washington batter crossed home plate on his watch. He walked one batter and struck one out. He has won nine games in an Indians uniform, with two more coming during his time in St. Louis with the Browns earlier this season.
At the plate, the Cleveland offense erupted for ten runs and 13 hits, including eight of the extra base variety. Washington’s Early Wynn (8-18), who entered the game 2-1 against Cleveland in four appearances, only lasted five innings.
Despite the lopsided final score, Washington actually held the lead in the ball game.
After retiring the first six batters of the game in order, Zoldak allowed a leadoff single in the third to left by Mickey Vernon. Al Evans singled to right and both batters moved up on the error in right field by Larry Doby, who bobbled the ball just long enough for both to start to advance, and then Lou Boudreau dropped Doby’s throw in. Wynn, aiding his own cause, grounded out to second baseman Joe Gordon, scoring Vernon with the game’s first run and giving the Nats a 1-0 lead.
Cleveland came right back in the bottom of the frame to tie the game up. Dale Mitchell doubled to left with one out to start the rally. After Thurman Tucker grounded out to second, Boudreau drove Mitchell home with a single to right field to tie the score.
In the bottom of the next inning, the Indians took the lead for good, again with clutch two-out hitting. After outs by Ken Keltner and Doby, Wally Judnich doubled to right. Catcher Jim Hegan then delivered his 14th home run of the season over the fence in left field. The two-run shot gave the Indians a 3-1 lead.
The Tribe plated two more in the fifth, after Mitchell singled to lead off the inning. He was caught stealing, but Tucker walked before Boudreau chased him home with a two-run home run of his own to left into the visitor’s bullpen. His 14th long ball pushed the score to 5-1.
After an out by Gordon, Keltner walked and scored on a triple to center by Doby. Another extra base hit followed from Judnich, whose second double in as many at bats scored Doby and gave the Indians a 7-1 lead.
Hegan drove in a run off of reliever Dick Welteroth in the seventh with a lineout to left that scored Gordon from third base, after the young Washington reliever loaded the bases with three straight walks to start the inning. Against the Nats’ Milo Candini in the eighth, Mitchell tripled and scored on a double by Tucker. Pinch-hitter Ray Boone, batting for Boudreau, singled Tucker home with a shot to center.
With a pair of hits on his shortened afternoon, Boudreau may have finally come out of his slump. He had entered the game with just two hits in his last eight ball games and 27 at bats (.074). His third inning single to right ended a string of 15 consecutive hitless at bats.
Cleveland’s Mitchell had four hits and fell a home run short of the cycle.
The Indians will welcome the Philadelphia Athletics into town tomorrow for a doubleheader. If the Indians draw 40,001 fans, they will set a new American League attendance record, set by the New York Yankees in 1946. At 9 AM on Sunday, 30,000 general admission tickets will go on sale at the Stadium for the doubleheader, scheduled for a 1:30 PM start.
Photo: Plain Dealer file photo