After a tumultuous first inning that quickly had the boo-birds out among the crowd of 31,394, Bob Feller was able to settle down and defeat the Chicago White Sox 10-2 at Cleveland Stadium this evening.
With the crowd already a buzz about the signing of Negro League pitcher Satchel Paige, Feller’s struggles almost sprung him into action in the first inning. Indians manager Lou Boudreau already had signaled to the bullpen for Paige to begin warming, but Feller was able to limit damage at just two runs, and the Tribe had a big first inning of their own and pounded out 14 hits for the game as they cruised to an easy victory.
Chicago started the scoring immediately in the top of the first inning. Don Kolloway and Dave Philley each singled to start the game and advanced to scoring position when Tony Lupien bunted them over. After former Tribesman Pat Seerey walked to load the bases, Paige began to loosen in the bullpen. Feller struck out Aaron Robinson for the second out of the inning, but Taffy Wright singled to center field, scoring Kolloway and Philley to give the Pale Hose a 2-0 lead.
The Tribe answered right back, posting an even bigger inning on the White Sox in the first inning and bouncing starter Earl Caldwell from the game. Dale Mitchell and Johnny Berardino started the rally with back-to-back singles to right field. After Hank Edwards popped out to shortstop, Boudreau began bringing them home. The manager’s single to left field brought home Mitchell. Joe Gordon followed Boudreau with a single to right field, scoring Berardino and tying the game at two.
With two on and only one out, the Indians were far from done, however. Ken Keltner walked to load the bases before Wally Judnich laced a single to right field, scoring both Boudreau and Gordon. With the score now 4-2, White Sox manager Ted Lyons gave Caldwell the hook and inserted Bob Gillespie on the mound.
Gillespie did not do much better, walking Jim Hegan to again load the bases. Feller headed to the plate, amid another shower of boos, and hit a high bounder back to the pitcher. Gillespie threw home to force out Keltner, but catcher Aaron Robinson threw wildly to first when he attempted a double play and ball sailed down the right field line, allowing Judnich and Hegan to score and make the game 6-2. Mitchell lined out in his second at bat of the inning to end the scoring.
After the first inning, Feller seemed to settle down and find his groove. He allowed just a hit and a walk in the next three innings before the Tribe added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, Berardino doubled down the left field line, then came home on Edwards’ single. Boudreau singled to right field to advance Edwards to third base and he scored on Gordon’s ground out, making it 8-2 Indians after four frames.
Feller danced around a single, wild pitch and walk in the top of the fifth inning before the Tribe added single tallies in the sixth and seventh innings. Gordon hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Edwards after he started the sixth with a triple off new Chicago pitcher Marv Rotblatt. Edwards drove home Mitchell with a double to right in the bottom of the seventh inning to make the score 10-2. Edwards was the hitting star of the day with two hits, a triple and two runs batted in, along with Gordon’s three RBIs. Gordon leads the team with 65 runs driven in on the season. Mitchell also had three hits and Boudreau two in the 14-hit onslaught.
Feller (9-9) was able to settle down after the rocky first inning and go the distance. He allowed just the two runs in the first inning, while scattering eight hits and five walks and striking out six. He evened his pitching record to nine wins and losses on the season.
Caldwell (1-4) took the loss for the White Sox, only recording one out in the first inning before getting the gate. He allowed five runs — four earned — on five hits and a walk. Gillespie allowed three more runs in four and two-third innings, while Rotblatt was charged with the final two.
The win has the Tribe keep pace with the Philadelphia Athletics in the standings. The Mackmen are just 10 percentage points behind the Tribe as they defeated the Yankees today, 4-3. The Yankees are now three and a half games behind the two teams in the standings.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Indians will conclude their brief two-game series with the White Sox. Gene Bearden (6-3, 3.00) will take to the mound for the Tribe. The southpaw is looking to get back to his early season success after several subpar outings in June. Former Indian, Al Gettel (2-4, 5.00) gets the ball for Chicago. Gettel and Seerey were dealt to the Windy City six weeks ago.