May 2, 1948
The Detroit Tigers took a second straight game in Cleveland from the Indians behind a strong starting effort from Fred Hutchinson, as the Tigers won 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.
Hutchinson (1-1, 6.35 ERA) rained on the Indians’ parade on a dreary afternoon at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. He was solid on the mound for the Tigers, allowing just three base runners on the day in a complete game effort. Both runs scored on a pair of home runs and he gave up only one other base hit. He issued no free passes and struck out four.
It was a significant improvement over his previous outing against the Indians this season, when he allowed six runs on nine hits (including four home runs) in five and two-thirds innings for the loss.
“Except for those two home run balls, I was throwing just about where I wanted to,” said Hutchinson after the game. “You have to outguess them and I was doing all right at that, too.”
The Tigers got on the scoreboard right away off of Indians starter Bob Lemon, although it did not come without its share of controversy. Eddie Mayo drew a one-out walk and attempted to steal second base. It appeared as though Mayo was thrown out by plenty, as he tried to avoid the tag of Lou Boudreau. The physical evidence left by Mayo’s footprints in the infield dirt seemed to leave clear proof that he was out of the base line, but umpire Jim Boyer ruled him safe. Boudreau disagreed with the call, claiming that Mayo ran out of the base lines and circled back from the centerfield side of the base.
The batter at the plate, third baseman George Kell, then doubled to center, easily scoring Mayo and giving Detroit a 1-0 lead. Cleanup hitter Pat Mullin added to that tally with an RBI-single to right field and was able to advance to second on an error by right fielder Larry Doby.
The Indians cut into that early deficit in the bottom half of the first. After Hutchinson retired the first two batters, shortstop Boudreau cleared the wire fences in left field with a solo shot, making it a 2-1 ball game. It was the second home run of the season for the Indians manager.
Lemon dodged a bullet in the second after a leadoff triple by Sam Vico. Lemon retired the next three on a groundout to second, a pop out to the catcher, and a flyout to left to strand Vico at third base.
In the bottom half of the third, Lemon aided his own cause, driving a home run into the right field seats off of Hutchinson to tie the game at two apiece. It was his second home run of the season off of the Detroit starter.
“Lemon hit a fast ball for his home run against me last week in Detroit so I decided to feed him curves today,” said Hutchinson. “Now I’m wondering what to throw him.”
The lead, though, only lasted for two Cleveland outs. Leading off the top of the fourth, Hoot Evers took Lemon deep. The solo shot returned the lead to the Tigers, 3-2.
“It curved but was on the inside and too high,” said Lemon. “It seemed to hang there…but not for long.”
Hutchinson settled down after the Lemon blast, retiring 19 of the last 20 Cleveland batters he faced, allowing just one more hit on the game, a screaming single to Lemon down the right field line in the sixth.
Lemon allowed one more run on a sacrifice fly by Mayo in the top of the eighth, giving the Tigers their fourth and final run on the day.
Lemon (2-1, 2.33), pitching on just a couple of days of rest, threw his third straight complete game. He allowed a season-high three earned runs and four runs in total on eight hits in nine innings. He struck out three and walked three.
With his 2-for-3 effort at the plate, he is now batting .455 in his first three games and eleven plate appearances.
Left fielder Dale Mitchell, making his first start of the season and just his third appearance overall, was 0-for-3 at the plate. Boudreau announced yesterday that he and Allie Clark will alternate in left field.
Ken Keltner continues to lead the AL with five home runs.
More than 57,000 fans were in attendance for the Tribe’s second consecutive loss. At 6-2 on the season, they remain in first place in the American League by one game and still have the best record in all of baseball.
The Indians have a day off Monday before starting a series in Philadelphia with the second-place Athletics. Bob Muncrief (1-0, 0.00) will make his first start of the season to open the trip, followed by Bob Feller and then Lemon.