Feller Flirts With One Hitter, Finishes Off Philly; Indians 6, Athletics 1

May 19, 1948

Indians starting pitcher Bob Feller pitched a three-hit gem and was aided by a five-run fifth inning as Cleveland defeated Philadelphia by a 6-1 final on Wednesday night, completing the two-game sweep of Connie Mack’s Athletics.

The Indians jumped on the board in the bottom of the third. Catcher Jim Hegan singled to left and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Feller. Thurman Tucker delivered a single to left, scoring Hegan from second and giving the Indians a 1-0 lead off of Philadelphia starter, Bill Dietrich.

Two innings later, Cleveland sent eleven men to the plate and ended Dietrich’s night.

Dale Mitchell led off the frame with a single to right. Hegan singled safely back to the mound, moving Mitchell up to second. Feller sacrificed for the second straight at bat, bunting both runners up a base. Tucker again came through with a clutch one-out hit, a double to right that scored both Mitchell and Hegan to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.

After a strikeout by Larry Doby, Lou Boudreau singled to left, driving in Tucker with the fourth run of the night and the third of the inning. After Boudreau stole second and Eddie Robinson walked, Joe Gordon dropped a single into center field to score the skipper. Ken Keltner followed with a RBI-single to left to drive home Robinson.

Nels Potter came on in relief and after a walk of Mitchell to load the bases, got Hegan to line out to left to end the inning. Five runs crossed the plate and gave Cleveland a 6-0 lead.

Dietrich (0-1) worked four and two-thirds innings on the night and allowed six earned runs on nine hits, earning his first loss of the season. He walked four and struck out only Doby. The 38-year-old and oldest pitcher in the American League made his first appearance of the season after being pushed into action for Joe Coleman, who was previously scheduled to start the night’s game.

The six-run lead was more than enough runs for Feller (5-2), who at one point during the ball game retired 16 straight Athletics batters. He struck out four on the evening and gave up just one walk and three hits.

“I knew from the beginning that I had it last night,” Feller said postgame. “About once in every eight or 10 games you have exceptional stuff and I had it tonight.”

Feller took a one-hitter into the ninth inning before the A’s struck for their lone run. Pete Suder led off the inning with a single to center and scored on a double by Eddie Joost. Joost was responsible for driving in both of the Athletics runs in the series.

The two hits in the ninth prevented Feller from recording the eleventh one-hitter of his career. He nearly had a no-hitter into the final frame. On a hard hit ball by Buddy Rosar, third baseman Keltner knocked down the ball, but his throw to first was low and not handled by Robinson. The official scorer credited Rosar with a hit.

“I thought I should have been charged with an error,” Keltner said after the win. “It was a hard play alright. The ball hit in my glove and instead of sticking dropped out so that I had to go after it and then make the throw. But if I had made a good throw we should have had him by three steps. Just the same, I’m glad they got another hit.”

The win increases the Indians lead over the Athletics in the American League. They have now won three straight games and will welcome the Boston Red Sox into town for three beginning Thursday.

Bob Lemon is scheduled to start for the Tribe against left-hander Mickey Harris in the evening’s 8:30 p.m. start. The game broadcast will be late, with the WJW broadcast beginning at 9:30 p.m., one hour after first pitch. The game in its entirety can be heard on WJW-FM.

Photo: ootpdevelopments.com

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