June 8, 1948
Games are won and lost by mere inches at times, and Tuesday evening the Indians might have used a foot’s worth to narrowly defeat the Boston Red Sox, 2-0.
Cleveland’s win is its fifth straight victory, and snapped the Red Sox streak of five in a row. The Tribe benefitted from several close calls and a controversial home run call by umpire Charlie Berry on Lou Boudreau’s two-run blast in the fourth inning. They were the only runs scored in the game.
Gene Bearden was effectively wild, again, all evening to win his sixth game of the season. Bearden (6-1) allowed only five hits, but walked six and constantly was working his way out of jams. In the first inning Bearden walked both Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams with one out before getting Vern Stephens to pop up to shortstop and Bobby Doerr to fly out to center field. He danced around a walk and base hit in the second inning with only one out to again avoid damage.
Bearden, however, needed Boudreau’s help to pull off his third inning Houdini act. After Pesky singled to center field to start the inning, Boudreau made three straight plays at shortstop forcing the lead runner out at second base each time to keep runners out of scoring position.
Stephens’ grounder was the play of the game, forcing Boudreau to go far to his right, make a backhand play and throw to Joe Gordon covering second base. Boudreau narrowly cut down Ted Williams at second base, but fell to the ground bruising his left shoulder and neck. He received first aid from Indians trainer Lefty Weisman at the end of the inning.
It appeared Boudreau would not be able to take his at-bat in the top of the fourth inning, at first. While Allie Clark drew a leadoff walk from Boston starter, Mel Parnell, Boudreau was absent from the on-deck circle. After Clark walked, Boudreau emerged from the dugout and hit a 2-2 pitch down the right field line, for what was called a home run.
Berry immediately signaled the ball a fair ball and home run, but Red Sox manager Joe McCarthy came out to protest, as did the 33,032 fans who loudly jeered Berry the rest of the evening. The ball was blown toward the foul pole by a stiff breeze, but appeared to land about six rows into the seats in fair ground from the view of the press box. It was Boudreau’s sixth home run of the season and the Tribe’s first hit of the game off Parnell. The 2-0 lead was all the offense in the game.
Boudreau seemed slowed the rest of the game by the injury but assured everyone that he intends to play tomorrow afternoon. He’ll surely receive treatment tonight and again in the morning before taking the field.
Bearden continued to dance around control issues in the fifth inning when he walked two more, and again in the seventh inning when he loaded the bases before getting Sam Mele to ground out to first base to end the threat. After seven nerve-wracking frames, Bearden suddenly found his control and retired the last six hitters to end the game. His complete game was his sixth win of the season and second shutout of the Red Sox this year.
Parnell (1-4) suffered a tough-luck loss, allowing only five hits in eight innings of work. The two runs he allowed on Boudreau’s controversial home run was his only blemish of the game. Portsider Earl Johnson pitched the final inning for Boston.
Tonight’s victory also extends the Indians’ lead over the Philadelphia Athletics to a season-high three and one-half games. The Mackmen lost 2-1 to the Detroit Tigers today and have fallen into a second place tie with the New York Yankees. The Yanks defeated the Chicago White Sox, 3-2, in 12 innings.
Tomorrow afternoon Cleveland will send Bob Feller (5-4, 2.65) to the mound in hopes of extending the Tribe’s winning streak to six games on their East Coast trip. Feller is fully rested after throwing 11 scoreless innings last Friday night in Washington. The Tribe eventually won the game 5-0 in 15 innings.
The Red Sox will send Jack Kramer (3-3, 4.62) to the mound against the wig-wammers. Kramer will try to get Boston back on track as today’s loss ruined their own five game winning streak. Kramer allowed three runs in six innings during a 7-0 loss to the Tribe on May 22.