May 26, 1948
After 27 games, lots of hits and home runs, and some good luck, the Indians finally were shutout for a game this season. Without Ken Keltner and Joe Gordon in the Tribe lineup the Washington Senators shut out the Indians 2-0 to end their 12-game homestand.
Washington’s Sid Hudson used an array offspeed and side arm curveballs to keep the Tribe scoreless all evening. Hudson allowed only three hits in eight innings and only one before his final frame of work.
“I was mixing them up,” Hudson said. “It was my side arm curve that was most effective.”
Hudson had shoulder injuries last season and was sidelined most of the year. Upon returning to the mound in 1948, he has had to revert to a side arm delivery to keep stress off his shoulder. The delivery for the tall, slim right-hander can be quite deceptive. The Indians’ only hit before the eighth inning came from Thurman Tucker in the third when he doubled down the left field line. It was one of only five balls to leave the infield all day from the Tribe offense.
Washington took the lead in the top of the second inning off the Tribe and southpaw starter Gene Bearden. Tom McBride doubled to left field to start the inning and advanced to third base when Mickey Vernon bunted for a base hit to put runners on the corners with no one out.
“Vernon did that on his own,” Senators’ manager Joe Kuhel said. “We aren’t much of a bunting team and the hit and run is usually more effective for us.”
Carden Gillenwater grounded to shortstop and the Tribe manager Lou Boudreau started a double play to retire Vernon and Gillenwater, allowing McBride to score and giving Washington a 1-0 lead. It was all the offense the Senators would need.
Cleveland allowed an unearned run in the top of the seventh due in part to its lack of infielders. After two were retired, Vernon singled harmlessly to left field before Gillenwater hit a ball right through Allie Clark’s legs at third base. Clark, who made his first big league start at third base tonight, is primarily an outfielder.
“It still seems strange,” Clark said of playing third base. Boudreau has always regarded him as a back up infielder, but never had to use him there this season. He might be able to move back to left field on Friday night in Chicago.
Vernon, hustling from first base in to third, noticed left fielder Dale Mitchell leisurely trotting in to pick up the ball. Vernon turned and sprinted for home and was able to slide head first under Mitchell’s throw to the plate. The unearned run and hustle gave Washington a 2-0 lead at the Seventh Inning Stretch.
Cleveland had its best and only chance to score in the bottom of the eighth inning off Hudson. With two outs, Hank Edwards pinch-hit for Bearden and singled to center field. Tucker followed with his second hit of the game, a single to center field.
After Larry Doby walked, the Indians had the bases loaded with two outs for Boudreau.
Kuhel removed Hudson from the game and relief specialist Tom Ferrick came in to face Boudreau.
“You don’t usually get him in a hole,” said Ferrick, who got Boudreau down 0-2 before he grounded into a force out at third base to end the inning. “That second one he fouled back was high and a little outside.”
“That pitch was just where I like them,” Boudreau said. “I wasn’t trying to hit to right, just to meet the ball.”
Hudson (2-3) pitched seven and two-thirds innings, allowing three hits and no runs on five walks and two strikeouts to earn the win. Ferrick retired the four hitters he faced, making the ninth inning uneventful, and recorded his third save.
Bearden (3-1) pitched well enough to win most games when the Tribe offense is running on all cylinders. Tonight, two runs (one earned), while allowing seven hits and walking two through eight innings, was not quite good enough though.
“I got good hitting in the other games,” Bearden said. “You can’t expect that all the time. Hudson just pitched better ball tonight.”
Bearden out-pitched Hudson about three weeks ago on May 8 when he threw a three-hit shutout, just like Hudson did tonight. The Tribe’s defeat drops them a half game behind the Philadelphia Athletics who won 7-1 in Chicago. Cleveland does hold a .002 percentage point lead despite being a half game back in the standings.
The Tribe will enjoy a much needed off day on Thursday with the hopes of getting Keltner and Gordon healthy by the time the Indians take the field Friday night against the lowly Chicago White Sox in Comiskey Park. Keltner feels another day of rest and icing will give him a good chance to play on Friday.
“It’s coming along faster than I expected,” Keltner said after the game. “You can see the swelling yet but I can move my fingers. I think I will be ready to try it out Friday.”
Gordon is still undergoing treatment for muscular soreness in his back. It is believed he will not be available to play second base until Sunday or Monday.
The Indians plan to start Don Black (1-0, 10.38) against the White Sox Friday evening. The Pale Hose will counter with Joe Haynes (2-5, 5.40). Boudreau hopes to throw Bob Lemon on Saturday and Bob Feller and Bill Kennedy during the Sunday doubleheader in Chicago. If all goes as planned the Indians will return on Monday for a Memorial Day doubleheader with the St. Louis Browns and Bearden and Bob Muncrief will start.