July 18, 1948
It took nearly an entire team to win the second game of today’s Sunday doubleheader in Washington. Cleveland used 20 players — including six pitchers — to rally from down 3-0 early to win in 12 innings by a score of 6-4 in front of 28,631.
The doubleheader sweep, combined with former Indian Pat Seerey hitting four home runs in the first game of a doubleheader between Philadelphia and Chicago, gave the Indians a one and one-half game lead in the American League at day’s end. Seerey hit four home runs to push the White Sox past the Athletics, 12-11 in the first game of their twin bill.
Bob Feller, the Indians starter in the second game, was not his best or his worst this afternoon. Feller allowed three runs over five innings. He first ran into trouble in the bottom of the second inning when a single and walk with no one out set the stage for a big inning. Boudreau and Rapid Robert were able to maneuver a pick off play at second base and erase Bud Stewart, leaving just Mark Christman on first base with one out. However, Mickey Vernon hit a slicing double down the left field line to put runners on second and third base with just one out.
Al Kozar hit a chopper in the infield that got over Feller’s head but died behind the mound before Boudreau or Joe Gordon could make a play. The bouncer allowed Christman to score and Vernon to reach third base. After Al Evans walked to load the bases, Feller’s mound opponent, Mickey Haefner lofted a fly ball deep enough to left field for Vernon to score and give the Nats a 2-0 lead.
Washington added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when Vernon again doubled, this time to right field, with one out. After Feller struck out Kozar for the second out, Evans singled over first baseman Eddie Robinson’s head. The little flare was catchable, but the weak-ankled Robinson got his feet tangled and fell down trying to go back on the ball. The blooper fell in and Vernon hustled around to score and give the Senators a 3-0 lead.
Feller was removed for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning, with Cleveland still trailing by three. He allowed six hits and three runs over five innings while walking two and striking out four. He did have solid control and command, avoiding giving up home runs, which has been his downfall this season. Satchel Paige worked a scoreless sixth inning.
The Tribe started their comeback in the top of the seventh inning. After mustering just three hits in six innings on the Nats’ Haefner, Boudreau started with a walk and Gordon and Ken Keltner followed each with singles to left field. Keltner’s base hit allowed Boudreau to score and Gordon to reach third. Cleveland trailed 3-1 with runners on the corners and no one out.
Johnny Berardino pinch-hit for Robinson, but popped out to second base for the first out, but Joe Tipton followed with a fly ball to left field that allowed Gordon to score from third base and trim the lead to 3-2. Larry Doby pinch-hit for Paige, but grounded out sharply to first base to end the inning with the Indians down just a run.
Russ Christopher replaced Paige and worked around a two-out triple to Carden Gillenwater without allowing a run. The Tribe got back to the plate in the top of the eighth inning and quickly chased Haefner from the game. Eventually, they took the lead.
Wally Judnich doubled with one out to right field and came running home a hitter later when Allie Clark singled to center field. Clark’s 15th RBI of the season tied the game at three and ended Haefner’s afternoon.
Tom Ferrick replaced Haefner, but could not keep the score deadlocked very long. Boudreau greeted Ferrick with a single to right field and Gordon lined to left field allowing Clark to score and give the Indians 4-3 lead. With runners on first and second and only one out, Ferrick was luck y to induce a sharp grounder from Keltner to third baseman Eddie Yost, who stepped on the bag and threw to first to end the inning.
The Tribe could not hold the lead, however. In the eighth inning, Christoper gave up Vernon’s third double of the game with one out. Kozar grounded out on a ball that hit Christopher, then caromed to Boudreau. The soft-handed shortstop reacted and retired Kozar at first base for the second out. Evans singled for his second hit of the day, but Vernon could only advance to third base.
Hanging by a thread, Boudreau removed Christopher and brought on Bob Lemon from the Indians bullpen. On two days rest, and slated to pitch tomorrow, Lemon struck out pinch-hitter Sherry Robertson looking to end the inning.
But Lemon was unable to hold the lead in the ninth inning. Yost started the rally with a double down the left field line. After Gil Coan grounded out, Gillenwater walked and Stewart flew out to center field, it appeared Lemon was going to avoid danger. But Christman, who frustrated the Tribe all day, singled to center field allowing Yost to score to tie the game and Gillenwater — the winning run — to get to third base. Lemon did get Vernon to fly out to right field to keep the game deadlocked at four runs each and send the game to extra innings.
Ed Klieman worked a scoreless 10th inning, and Sam Zoldak did the same for the Tribe in the 11th before the Indians got to Washington’s reliever, Earl Harrist, for two runs in the top of the 12th. Dale Mitchell started the inning with a triple to center field. Thurman Tucker — who took over for Wally Judnich in center field in the eighth inning — flew out to shallow center for the first out, but Clark singled to left field allowing Mitchell to score and take the lead. Coan’s wild throw from left field allowed Clark to advance all the way to third base. Boudreau walked before Harrist was removed for Nats’ reliever Sid Hudson. Mitchell now has a 15-game hitting streak and is hitting .319 for Cleveland.
Hudson allowed Gordon to hit a fly ball to left field, deep enough to score Clark and give the Indians a 6-4 lead before ending the inning. Zoldak worked a three-up, three-down 12th inning to close out the Senators for the second time today. Zoldak (5-6) pitched two innings of relief, not allowing a hit or walk. Harrist (4-5) was charged with the loss after allowing the two runs in the 12th, despite working three and one-third innings of relief.
Cleveland’s late rally in the seventh and eighth innings washes away a solid outing by Mickey Haefner, who scattered seven hits and four runs over seven and one-third innings. He had a three-hit shutout through six innings before the Indian offense came alive.
Sunday’s doubleheader sweep gives the Tribe a one and one-half game lead over the Mackmen, a three-game lead over the New York Yankees and a five and a half game lead over the hard-charging Boston Red Sox.
Lemon (13-7, 2.45) will still make his start tomorrow evening, looking to tie Detroit’s Hal Newhouser for the major league lead in wins. He’ll be opposed by another Washington southpaw, Forrest Thompson (2-2, 3.19). The Indians will look to win the series and take their third game of the four-game set in the nation’s capital.