August 16, 1948
The last time Gene Bearden faced the St. Louis Browns the Indians issued a 26-3 beating. Today, the Browns were more than three times better, but Bearden’s effort improved, too.
The left-handed, rookie, knuckleballer went the distance in an 8-0 victory for the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night. It was Bearden and the Tribe’s sixth straight win, respectively. The favorite for Rookie of the Year helped the Indians get some space between themselves and their pennant contenders. Philadelphia was rained out in Boston, is now two games back, the Red Sox three games back and the New York Yankees five.
Offensively, the Indians banged out 11 hits and eight runs, with all the scoring in two innings against a fleet of St. Louis pitchers. For four innings, Browns’ starter Bill Kennedy was shutting out the Tribe, just like his counterpart Bearden. The two lefties battle one another in Indians spring training for a place on the Tribe roster.
Kennedy, who made the Indians’ team but was traded to St. Louis in June for Sam Zoldak, showed why the Indians made the right decision on Bearden over him in the fifth inning. Johnny Berardino, playing for the injured Joe Gordon, walked and Jim Hegan singled off first baseman’s Hank Arft’s glove into right field to start the inning. After Bearden struck out, Dale Mitchell started the scoring when he singled into the hole at shortstop, plating Berardino. Allie Clark singled off Arft’s glove again, bringing home Hegan to make it 2-0, Tribe.
The scoring didn’t stop, however. Lou Boudreau walked to load the bases before Eddie Robinson sent a fly ball deep enough to center field to score Mitchell. Ken Keltner then added the crushing blow, a triple to right center field that brought home Boudreau and Clark, making it 5-0. Kennedy was sent to the showers after Keltner’s knock.
Browns’ manager Zack Taylor brought on Frank Biscan, but his time was limited. Doby welcomed Biscan with a ground rule double that hopped over the fence in right field, scoring another run to make it 6-0. Taylor sent Biscan to the dugout and brought on former-Yankee Karl Drews who popped up Berardino to end the inning.
Drews was knocked for two runs the next inning when Hegan started the rally again with a single. Two infield groundouts moved him to third base and he trotted home when Allie Clark singled him home. Hal Peck pinch-ran for Clark. Boudreau singled to center field to advance Peck to third base. Robinson was intentionally walked to load the bases before Keltner singled over the infield’s head to right field, scoring Peck and making it 8-0.
It was more than enough offense for Bearden, who had a no-hitter through four innings. Eddie Pellagrini finally logged a hit in the top of the fifth inning for the Brownies. Bearden allowed a single in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings before completing the game in the ninth.
Bearden (12-3) allowed five walks and struck out two in his four-hit, complete game shutout. The win makes him the leader in winning percentage among American League starting pitchers. His fourth shutout this season also made him one of the leaders in ERA. His nine shutout innings dropped his number to 2.39 on the season.
Kennedy (5-5) absorbed the loss, allowing six hits and six runs, while walking five and just striking out two in four and two-third innings.
The 55,858 fans at the Stadium this evening enjoyed the 11-hit offensive display by the Tribe. Keltner and Hegan were the hitting stars of the game. Keltner had three hits and three runs batted in, while Hegan started both rallies with hits. He’s raised his batting average 20 points in the last five games. Berardino will likely play again tomorrow night for Gordon who slightly sprained his ankle on Sunday in Chicago. He’s been held out of game action as a precaution.
Cleveland will try to continue to build some separation between themselves and their pursuers this week. They have another game against the seventh place Browns before hosting the last place Chicago White Sox for the weekend.
Tomorrow night the Indians will try to earn a brief two-game sweep of St. Louis. If they can win, it will become their longest winning streak of the season. Former Brownie Sam Zoldak (6-8, 4.18) will take the mound for the Tribe. St. Louis will counter with a lefty of their own, Joe Ostrowski (2-0, 4.78). Last week Ostrowski pitched nine innings to beat the Tribe in St. Louis.