July 15, 1948
Steve Gromek gave Cleveland just the start it needed on its long East Coast road trip, as his complete game effort paced the Indians to a 6-1 victory in Philadelphia against the second-place Athletics.
In just his second start of the season for the Indians, Gromek (3-1) allowed just a run in nine innings to take the first game of the twi-night double header at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. The victory gives Cleveland some slight breathing room in the standings, increasing their lead in the American League to a game and a half.
Gromek, working almost exclusively out of the bullpen this season for manager Lou Boudreau, allowed just four hits and four walks while striking out four of Connie Mack’s Athletics hitters. The lone run crossed the plate via the long ball.
Gromek’s other start, coincidentally enough, came in a double header on June 6th against the same A’s. As he did Thursday afternoon, he supplied a complete game effort that day as well, allowing one run on six hits in an 11-1 victory in Philadelphia.
The Tribe got on the scoreboard in the top of the second. Boudreau singled to lead off the inning and moved up to second on a wild pitch from Athletics’ starter, Phil Marchildon. Second baseman Joe Gordon laced a double to left field to score Boudreau and give the Indians an early 1-0 lead.
Cleveland tacked on a second run with two outs in the third. Hank Edwards cleared the fences with a home run off of Marchildon, increasing the advantage to 2-0. The shot by the right fielder was his third of the season.
Catcher Buddy Rosar cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fourth off of Gromek, delivering a solo home run into the stands in left to make it a 2-1 game. It was the third home run of the season for the Philadelphia backstop.
The Indians ripped the game open in the top of the next inning, giving Gromek plenty of room to pitch. After a leadoff double by Dale Mitchell, center fielder Larry Doby drove him in with a single to left. The RBI from Doby was a welcomed sight, as he had not started a game since June 27 while dealing with an ankle injury. He has made just two appearances, both as a pinch hitter, in the last two and a half weeks.
Doby moved to second on a walk to Edwards and both men advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Boudreau. Gordon was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out, but the plan backfired on Mack, as Ken Keltner knocked in a pair on a double down the left field line, increasing the lead to 5-1. A fielder’s choice groundout by Eddie Robinson drove in Gordon from third for the game’s final run.
After the home run to Rosar, Gromek allowed just two base runners the rest of the game. Ferris Fain singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth, and Elmer Valo drew a walk with an out in the ninth but was erased on a line drive double play off of the bat of Rosar to end the game. All four hits surrendered by Gromek on the afternoon came in four separate innings, reducing Philadelphia’s scoring opportunities.
Marchildon (6-7) left after seven innings on the afternoon. He allowed six earned runs on the afternoon on six hits, walked another five, and struck out a pair. He has had bad luck against Cleveland all season, as he drops to 0-3 in four starts against them this season. He has allowed 24 earned runs in 24 1/3 innings pitched (8.88 ERA) on the season against the Indians and has allowed 32 hits and 16 walks with a home run in all four appearances.
Bubba Harris pitched two innings of hitless relief to wrap up the game for the A’s.
The win extends the Indians bizarre home and road records on the season. On the shores of Lake Erie, they are 20-20, but on the road, they are 26-8.
The Indians will look for a third straight win in the night cap of Thursday’s double header, as Bob Lemon (13-7, 2.39) and Dick Fowler (8-1, 3.81) are scheduled to take the mound. Lemon won his last start, throwing a three-hitter in a complete game 5-0 shutout at home against the St. Louis Browns on Sunday.