Lemon Struggles but Still Wins; Indians 7, Browns 5

August 11, 1948

Bob Lemon (15-10, 3.03) “earned” his 15th win of the season Wednesday afternoon as the Tribe took game one of their first of two doubleheaders in the next two days by a score of 7-5.

Lemon battled through 6.1 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits while walking four.  It certainly was not Lemon’s best outing, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, as St. Louis’ pitching was slightly worse than he was.

Bryan Stephens (3-6, 5.67), who went 5-10 for the Indians last season, was battered around by his old mates and did not make it out of the third inning.  The Tribe hit for the cycle off of Stephens’ short outing, highlighted by a Joe Gordon homerun and a triple by Eddie Robinson.

The two big blows kick-started the scoring on the day, as Gordon’s 22nd blast broke the scoreless tie with one out in the second inning.  Robinson, the next batter, got the Indians back in business immediately by scorching his three-bagger down the right field line.  Player/manager Lou Boudreau then gave Cleveland a 2-0 advantage when he singled Robinson home.

The Indians got right back to work in the top of the third, running Stephens from the ballgame in the process.  Hal Peck got things started with a leadoff single into right and then came around to score when Larry Doby smoked a double into right as well.  A Ken Keltner pop out gave Stephens some hope, but all of it was dashed when Gordon roped another double into left.  The 4-0 Indians lead prompted St. Louis manager Zack Taylor to call on relief pitcher Al Widmar out of the bullpen.

Widmar did not fare much better than Stephens, however, as the Indian hitters kept their foot on the gas and did not let up.  In the fourth, Lemon helped his own cause by ripping an RBI single after Jim Hegan had led off the inning with a two-bagger.  The fifth inning proved even better for the Indians, as Gordon and Boudreau ripped singles to put runners at first and third and a Widmar wild pitch made the score 6-0.  Lemon continued his big day at the plate, eventually shooting another single into right, scoring Boudreau and giving the Indians a 7-0 lead.

Offensively, the rest of the day belonged to the Browns, who would battle back and eventually bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate in the seventh inning.  St. Louis got their scoring started in the fifth, when Sam Dente tripled to score catcher Les Moss all the way from first base.  In the sixth, pinch hitter Paul Lehner roped a two RBI single to make the score 7-3.

In the seventh, Lemon allowed a single to Al Zarilla and a double to Jerry Priddy before Boudreau pulled him from the game in favor of Satchel Paige.  Paige got the St. Louis crowd on their feet when he allowed a Hank Arft single to score the two runners and cut the lead to 7-5.  A walk to Don Lund meant a homerun would give the Browns the lead, but Paige would buckle down and strikeout Moss to end the threat.

Paige worked the rest of the ballgame for his first Major League save and gave the Indians a much needed win.  The Tribe and Browns will do it again this evening, with the Indians hoping to put some space between themselves and the rest of the American League pack.  The longtime Brown Bob Muncrief (5-3, 3.60) will get the ball for the Indians while his former teammate Bill Kennedy (4-4, 6.19) will get the ball for St. Louis.  Kennedy was traded from the Indians to the Browns earlier this season in the Sam Zoldak deal.

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