June 6, 1948
The Indians dismantled the Philadelphia Athletics in the second game of the doubleheader, pounding out 16 hits en route to a 11-1 victory at Shibe Park. The win gives Cleveland a two and one-half game lead over Philadelphia and the rest of the American League. The lead is their largest of the season.
Whenever a team wins by 10 runs and accumulates 16 hits, it is a team effort, but two players who likely didn’t think they’d factor so heavily in the team’s performance just a week ago would have been Steve Gromek and Joe Tipton.
Gromek (1-0) pitched nine solid innings, scattering just six hits and walking three while striking out four in his first start of the year. He allowed a lead off home run by Eddie Joost in bottom of the first inning to stake the Athletics to 1-0 lead. Joost’s sixth home run of the season staked the Athletics to the only lead they had in either game all day. Only a double by Ferris Fain in the eighth inning was hit sharply after Joost’s boost to the seats.
Tipton was 5 for 5 on the afternoon, scoring two runs and driving in another to a perfect day. He’s now logged eight consecutive base hits in as many at bats and has reached base in 10 consecutive plate appearances. It only took Tipton a week to put the streak together. He’s been out since being hit by a pitch trying to bunt in last Sunday’s doubleheader in Chicago. He’s just four hits shy of the all-time record for consecutive base hits.
Cleveland took the lead back from Philadelphia in the top of the fourth inning when Wally Judnich walked to start the inning and came home on Ken Keltner’s 14th home run of the season. Keltner’s clout made it 2-1, Cleveland, and was his first homer in over a week.
They added three more runs in the sixth inning when Joe Gordon walked and Keltner singled with one out. Tipton logged his third hit of the game, singling to right field to score Gordon and move Keltner to third base. Tipton advanced to second base on the throw to the plate. Dale Mitchell doubled to center field to send Keltner and Tipton to the plate and the Indians led 5-1.
That ended the day for Fowler (3-1), going six innings, allowing seven hits and five runs and five walks while striking out one. The Athletics brought in Bob Savage with hopes he would hold them in the contest. Their hopes did not last long.
After a scoreless seventh inning, the Indians scored five more to end any doubt in the contest. Dale Mitchell singled to drive in two runs, Boudreau drove in a run and Eddie Robinson drove in a pair on his seventh home run of the season. Mitchell’s single was the third of his four base hits on the day. He singled in the ninth inning to drive home Gromek and make the final 11-1, Tribe. Mitchell had four hits and drove in five as he raised his batting average to .279 on the season and continued to settle in to the leadoff spot in the absence of Thurman Tucker. Tucker remains injured with a broken finger.
Gromek’s complete game success comes at a bit of a surprise. He has not started a game all season and has had limited high notes in previous opportunities. He only started seven games last year and lost 15 games the last time he was a full-time starter in 1946.
Tipton’s five hits raise his average to .542 on the season. He continues to see limited action behind starter and All-Star Jim Hegan.
Cleveland will look for the four-game sweep of Philadelphia on Monday night. Bob Feller (5-4, 2.65) will take the mound, fresh off his 11-inning, four-hit performance in Washington on Friday night. He’ll take the mound on just two days’ rest, but with Don Black sidelined with a foot injury, the Indians are left with only eight healthy pitchers on the roster. Philadelphia plans to pitch left-hander Lou Brissie (5-4, 4.61) in hopes of salvaging one win.