August 7, 1948
The Indians found a way to keep Joe DiMaggio off the base paths yesterday, but couldn’t do it two days in a row.
DiMaggio doubled twice, driving in three of the Yankees five runs and Vic Raschi scattered just four hits over nine innings in shutting out the Tribe 5-0 in front of the 66,693 Ladies Day crowd. It was the largest crowd in Indians history for a Saturday game. It was a record-smashing day in the stadium nursery, too. A total of 274 children were in the playroom, eclipsing the largest previous “crowd” of 168.
Raschi and DiMaggio started giving the kids and Indians starter Bob Lemon something to cry about in the top of the third inning. After two outs were recorded, Lemon walked Snuffy Stirnweiss and Tommy Henrich, then a single to Charlie Keller to load the bases. DiMaggio came to the plate ripping a hard, one-bouncer off the glove of shortstop Johnny Berardino and into the outfield. It was ruled a double and two runs scored, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Again in the fifth inning DiMaggio was at the center of the Yankees’ scoring. After Henrich and Keller each singled with one out, DiMaggio smashed a 400-foot double to center field, plating Henrich and giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead. He smash was narrowly caught by Thurman Tucker in center field. He was able to run down the smash, but couldn’t hold on as he crashed into the wall.
With runners on second and third and just one out, the Yankees weren’t done. Berra was intentionally walked to load the bases after DiMaggio’s double. George McQuinn flew to deep center field and Keller trotted home while DiMaggio raced to third base. Now with runners on the corners, Berra took off to steal second base while DiMaggio came racing home to steal home and their final run, making the score 5-0.
Raschi (14-4) meanwhile cruised through the Indians batting order all afternoon. He allowed just four hits, two each to Dale Mitchell and Larry Doby, but none in the same inning. Only one runner reached third base and three got to second base, but no one could score. Raschi’s shutout leaves him second in the American League in shutouts to just his pitching counterpart, Lemon.
Lemon (14-10) suffered the loss, giving up all five runs, while scattering eight hits and walking four with seven strikeouts in eight innings. Bob Muncrief pitched a three-up, three-down inning in the ninth.
Despite Berardino’s misplay in the third inning of DiMaggio’s double, and another error, he’ll likely be back on the field tomorrow afternoon four the Sunday doubleheader. Indians manager and shortstop Lou Boudreau is still nursing a sore shoulder from his Thursday collision with Gil Coan. After two days of therapy, he still cannot throw.
“It feels a lot better than it did yesterday,” Boudreau said. “I still can’t throw. It would have to improve as much in the next 24 hours as it did in the last before I can play. I’ll go if I can, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it.”
If Boudreau is on the bench again tomorrow, he’ll miss the entire four game series against the Yankees. Today was the largest Ladies Day crowd of the season, with 23,364 women and children receiving free admission. A crowd of 71,555 is needed to eclipse the record of 186,151 set on three successive days last June in New York. It is the current record for a three day series in baseball history.
With or without Boudreau, the Indians will need a pair of wins tomorrow to keep themselves on pace with the Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics. After today’s loss, both teams are just two percentage points behind the Tribe. The Red Sox trail the three teams by two games.
The Indians will send left-hander Sam Zoldak (6-7, 3.81) to the mound in the first game of the doubleheader against Yankee righty Spec Shea (6-9, 3.30). Steve Gromek (5-2, 3.28) will toe the rubber for the Indians in the nightcap against Bob Porterfield. Porterfield will be making his major league debut having just been called up from the International League.