With an opportunity to even up his record on the season, Cleveland starter Bob Feller was battered for five runs and five hits and was pulled after just six batters, as the Philadelphia Athletics went on to beat the Indians by a 10-5 final on Friday.
Eddie Joost led off the Philadelphia day at the plate with a double to center. A bunt single to third from Barney McCosky moved Joost to third. A base hit by Ray Coleman found Eddie Robinson unable to get to the bag unassisted and Feller was late covering the bag, enabling Joost to score to tie the game at one.
With Ferris Fain at the plate, Philadelphia pulled off a double steal, as Feller, for reasons unknown, opted to pitch from a windup instead of out of the stretch. It paid immediate dividends for the Athletics, as Fain lifted a fly ball to center to score McCosky. Hank Majeski singled to right-center, scoring Coleman and giving the A’s a 3-0 lead. A fifth hit in the inning, a single to left by Elmer Valo, ended Feller’s day before he could even get an at bat of his own.
Bob Muncrief came on in relief and was not much better. He walked Buddy Rosar to load the bases and then got what looked to be a potential double play ball to Boudreau at short. The forceout at second was the second out of the inning, but the relay throw by Gordon to first was wild, allowing a second run to cross the plate to give the Athletics a five-spot against the Cleveland pitching staff.
Feller was credited with one-third of an inning pitched and was tagged with the loss. He allowed five runs, four earned, on five hits. The only batter he retired was a loud fly out.
Muncrief allowed four consecutive one-out base runners in the second inning to extend the Philadelphia lead. McCosky walked and moved to third on a single to right by Coleman. Fain singled to right, driving in McCosky and pushing their lead to 6-1. A single by Majeski down the left field line loaded the bases and once again, a double play opportunity was missed and led to additional unearned runs. Valo grounded to Gordon at second, where Boudreau forced the runner, but the error on his throw to first allowed both Fain and Coleman to score, giving the A’s an 8-1 lead.
A triple by Coleman led off the Philly fourth off of Muncrief. A walk to Fain put runners on the corners for Majeski, who grounded into a force out at second. Coleman scored as Boudreau’s return throw to first was not in time, pushing the Athletics’ lead to 9-1.
The Indians got their first hit off of Lou Brissie (9-6) since the first inning with two outs in the sixth. Clark singled to center. Boudreau singled to left and a third straight single, by Gordon, scored Clark. Third baseman Ken Keltner gave Cleveland a four-run inning with a three-run home run to the upper reaches of the left field stands to cut the A’s advantage to 9-5.
It was the 22nd home run of the season for Keltner and his second in as many games.
Philadelphia tacked on another run in the sixth after stringing together three straight two-out singles off of Muncrief. Muncrief finished the day with five and one-third innings pitched. He allowed five runs, four earned and walked four.
Brissie allowed base runners in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, but prohibited any additional Indians runners from crossing home plate. He allowed five runs on the night and gave up ten hits in the game. He struck out six Cleveland batters.
With his single with two outs in the ninth inning, Indians outfielder Dale Mitchell extended his hitting streak to a season-high 12 games.
With the loss, the Indians’ lead in the American League falls to a game and a half over Philadephia. New York and Boston are both within striking distance of Cleveland, at three and five and a half games out, respectively.
Sam Zoldak (4-5, 4.03 ERA) will make his first start in almost two weeks on Saturday in the finale against Philadelphia. He has yet to face the A’s since being acquired from the St. Louis Browns. He is 2-1 with a 2.73 in four games (three starts) for Cleveland.
Joe Coleman (8-6, 3.76) will take the mound for the Athletics. He represented the American League All-Star team last Tuesday, where he pitched three hitless innings. He has allowed eleven runs in eleven innings in two losses against the Tribe this season.