August 31, 1948
If Lou Boudreau can play this way when he’s hurting, the Cleveland Indians should be quite excited for when he’s healthy again. Boudreau had three hits, two RBI and gave rookie southpaw Gene Bearden all of the offense that he needed in a 6-1 Indians victory over the Philadelphia Athletics.
Bearden (13-6, 2.74) has been an unexpected, pleasant surprise for the Indians this season and continued his outstanding year on Tuesday. Bearden worked 8.0 innings giving up just one unearned run on five hits. The young lefty walked five and struck out three in the victory.
Opposing Bearden was the A’s top starter this season, Dick Fowler (13-5, 3.63) who finished an up-and-down August after a splendid July. Fowler was outstanding for four innings, locked in a scoreless tie, before the Tribe bats got to him in the fifth.
Bearden set up the rally by doubling into right field to start the inning. An infield single by Dale Mitchell moved Bearden to third with nobody out and then Wally Judnich scorched a single to right to put new runners at the corners and give the Tribe a 1-0 lead.
The advantage expanded the very next batter as Boudreau doubled to center to score Mitchell and put Judnich at third. When second baseman Joe Gordon followed with a groundout to plate Judnich, the Tribe lead grew to 3-0. After Ken Keltner popped out to second, Larry Doby slashed a single to left to give the Indians their fourth run of the inning.
The Tribe tacked on another tally in the sixth when Jim Hegan singled to left to lead off the inning. After two straight outs, Hegan moved to second on Judnich’s walk and then came home on Boudreau’s second RBI hit—this time a single—of the ballgame.
After Bearden had cruised through seven scoreless frames, the Athletics finally tacked on their unearned run in the bottom of the eighth. Bearden allowed Eddie Joost to walk, and then moved him to third on a Barney McCosky single and an error by Judnich. Joost scored two batters later, when Hank Majeski grounded out to Boudreau.
The Indians answered Philadelphia’s run with one of their own in the top of the ninth to make the score it’s final of 6-1. Boudreau led off the inning with a triple to centerfield and then came around to score on a Gordon single. The RBI was Gordon’s second of the ballgame and his 100th of the season. Boudreau, meanwhile, raised his batting average to .369 with his 3-3 performance. The Tribe’s player/manager is now just .003 points behind Ted Williams, the league’s leading hitter.
There was a time, not too long ago, when the American League pennant race seemed like a two horse race between the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia A’s. The two teams have struggled somewhat in recent weeks, with the Indians dropping to third place and the Mackmen falling to fourth. With Tuesday’s victory, the Tribe has won back to back games for the first time in nearly two weeks.
The quick, two-game series between the two rivals is billed to be a momentum shifter for whichever team comes out on top. The Indians have hopefully started to bury the A’s, who now sit 4.5 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. The New York Yankees sit one game back in second place while the Indians kept pace with the two front-runners and remain 1.5 games out.
The Tribe will try to sink the Athletics even deeper on Wednesday, as they look for the two-game sweep in Shibe Park. Bob Feller (13-14, 4.33) will get the call and will take on the A’s Bill McCahan (4-4, 4.70). McCahan was outdueled by Bob Muncrief during his only start against the Tribe back in June. Feller, meanwhile, is 3-2 against Connie Mack’s squad this season.