Gromek Gives Tribe First Weekend Win with Complete Game; Indians 4, Browns 1

September 11, 1948

In a weekend sure to fill even the biggest fans with their share of baseball, Steve Gromek started a busy weekend the right way with a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Browns on Saturday afternoon.

The Indians used two runs in the first inning and two more in the third to take control of the game while Gromek did not allow a hit to the Brownies until the fifth inning in front of 32,248 fans. Only 19,210 spectators were paid admissions for today’s Ladies Day crowd. Cleveland’s win is the first in a weekend that features a doubleheader today and tomorrow, a product of previous rainouts between St. Louis and the Tribe.

This afternoon’s victory is the Indians fifth in a row and keeps them just three and a half games behind the Boston Red Sox for first place. Cleveland was not able to make any ground because the Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Athletics 9-1 in Boston. The Red Sox and Athletics are also playing two today.

Cleveland took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Dale Mitchell reached safely on an infield single to shortstop and ran all the way around the bases when Thurman Tucker tripled to center field. After Allie Clark grounded out to third base, with the infield in, Joe Gordon and Ken Keltner each walked to load the bases.  Lou Boudreau then lofted a fly ball to deep right field to sacrifice himself and bring home Tucker, giving the Indians a 2-0 lead after an inning.

In the third inning the Indians benefitted from a miscue by St. Louis that helped lead to two more runs. Clark singled off Browns’ starter Cliff Fannin with one out. Joe Gordon followed with a double to left field, but as left fielder Al Zarilla saw Clark sprinting for third base, he misplayed the ball and let it get past him. Zarilla’s error allowed Clark to score and Gordon to take third base on 16th double of the season. Ken Keltner flew out to center field, bringing Gordon home for his 98th RBI and 4-0 Indians lead.

Gromek, meanwhile, was making short work of the Browns in his spot start. He did not allow a hit until the fifth inning when Paul Lehner singled to left field to start the inning. A foul out by Les Moss and flyouts by Eddie Pellagrini and Fannin left Lehner at first base for the entire inning, however.

St. Louis scratched their only run in the game in the top of the sixth inning. Bob Dillinger singled to right field to start the inning and Jerry Priddy doubled down the right field line with one out to plate Dillinger. After cutting the lead to 4-1, St. Louis could get no closer when rookies Dick Kokos flew out to right field and Hank Arft popped out to shortstop, leaving Priddy stranded.

After the sixth inning Gromek only allowed one more hit, a two-out single to left field by Moss in the ninth. He got Don Lund to pop out to Jim Hegan in foul ground to end the game a batter later though.

Gromek (8-3) went the distance, allowing just a run on four hits and two walks, while striking out two. His mound opponent, Fannin (8-12), also went the distance, but suffered the loss. He allowed four runs—just three earned—on six hits and seven walks. He struck out four in his second defeat to the Tribe this season. Fannin has also won two decisions against the Indians in the ’48 campaign.

Larry Doby did not play in the game and is not expected to play in the second game of today’s twin bill. The Tribe’s starting center fielder is nursing a sore right hand and sidelining his 20-game hitting streak.

The Tribe will try to sweep the lowly Browns in today’s doubleheader when Bob Lemon (19-11, ) goes for his 20th victory for the second time. He’ll be opposed by left-hander Al Gerheauser (0-1, 12.15) from St. Louis. Gerheauser was just recalled from Toledo yesterday. He hasn’t appeared in a big league game since June 23.

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