May 9, 1948
The Indians endured yet another sour start, but used a fine effort from the bullpen and a late rally to steal the second game of the Sunday doubleheader, 9-5. Cleveland used three more home runs to ignite the rally.
The two victories match the two wins posted by the Philadelphia Athletics today, leaving the Tribe in a virtual tie in the standings. Cleveland is a half-game behind in the standings, yet because of playing three fewer games, the Tribe has a .714 winning percentage to Philly’s .706.
Don Black made his second start of the season for the Tribe, and the second verse was worse than the first. Black made it only two and two-thirds innings in his first start of the season on April 26 in Chicago, but today he only survived four batters and did not retire anyone.
Dom DiMaggio walked to start the Red Sox bottom of the first inning. Johnny Pesky followed with a double off the wall in left field before Ted Williams singled them both home to make it 2-0 Boston. Stan Spence singled to right field to put runners on the corners and Indians manager Lou Boudreau had seen enough. He jettisoned Black to the showers and summoned Lyman Linde from the bullpen. Linde promptly got Vern Stephens to ground into a double play, allowing Williams to score, and then retired Bobby Doerr on a line out to Boudreau. Boston led 3-0 quickly, but it could have been even worse had Black not been removed when he was.
Boston starter Ellis Kinder cruised through the first three innings, allowing only two hits. His only appearance before today was a three-inning appearance in relief. Had he called it a day after three frames he would have logged another quality outing. However, in the fourth inning Cleveland scraped back into the game.
Boudreau was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, and Kinder’s wildness continued when he walked Eddie Robinson to put two on and no one out. Joe Gordon lined to left field for what appeared to be a base hit, but Williams was charging hard and made a shoe-string catch then threw to second to double up Boudreau. Just as it looked like Kinder would avoid trouble, Ken Keltner connected and with a mega-blast to the center field bleachers for a two-run homer. His league leading ninth home run traveled over 400 feet and cut the Indians’ deficit to just one.
The Red Sox responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings to extend their lead. In the fourth a two-double by Sam Mele, followed by a single from backup catcher Matt Batts, gave Boston a 4-2 lead. Williams hit his seventh home run of the season in the fifth inning to make the game 5-2, BoSox. Linde finished the sixth inning before being removed from the game. For Linde, six innings of relief on four hits and only allowing two runs was what kept the Tribe in the game with a chance to come back.
Linde’s effort held the Indians in the game just long enough for them to strike in the seventh inning and chase Kinder from the game. Dale Mitchell led off the inning with a walk. After Joe Tipton popped out to second base, Allie Clark pinch-hit for Linde and grounded out to first base. Mitchell was able to advance to second, which became key when Thurman Tucker singled to right field to score Mitchell and cut the lead to 5-3.
The lead disappeared a hitter later, however, when Larry Doby crushed his fourth home run of the season, driving in Tucker and himself and tying the game at five runs apiece. For Doby it was his 12th RBI in 12 games. After two games on the bench, Doby has hit two home runs in the last two days, including a 500-foot bomb yesterday in Philadelphia.
The game-tying homer ended Kinder’s day with a no-decision after six and two-third innings, allowing six hits and five runs while walking three and striking out two. It appeared Kinder tired as the day continued, a product of only relieving until today. Fritz Dorish ended the inning without further damage.
Dorish ended the seventh inning, but the damage began again quickly in the eighth inning with the Indians issuing the punishing blows. Robinson singled to start the inning and was forced out at second base when Gordon grounded out up the middle for a fielder’s choice. With Gordon on first base, Keltner walked. Mitchell gave the Indians their first lead of the game when he singled to center field to score Gordon, making the score 6-5. Tipton, playing for Jim Hegan in the second game of the doubleheader, made his game count when he hit a three-run homer to break the game wide open and stake the Indians to a 9-5 lead. Cot Deal finished the inning and the game for Boston, but the damage was done.
Meanwhile, Ed Klieman (1-0) came in relief of Linde and worked a scoreless seventh and eighth inning. He allowed just one hit and three walks over two and one-third innings of work. After retiring the first hitter in the ninth inning, he walked pinch-hitters Billy Goodman and Wally Moses. With two on and one out, Boudreau sent for Russ Christopher from the Tribe pen. Christopher retired DiMaggio and Pesky to end the game and earn his third save in just over 24 hours. Christopher has faced just five hitters in his three appearances. It was his fourth save of the season.
The win is the Tribe’s fourth in a row, after four losses. The Indians will look to take the series finale tomorrow and sweep Boston — the preseason American League favorite — with their new manager Joe McCarthy. This is McCarthy’s first season at the helm of the Red Sox after leaving the New York Yankees. Cleveland will try to keep his new start a rocky one when Al Gettel makes his second start. Gettel only lasted two innings on Apr. 25 at Detroit. He’ll be opposed by Dave Ferriss (1-0) of Boston.