May 28, 1948
On a cold Friday night in front of a large Comiskey Park crowd, the Cleveland Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox by a score of 2-0. The shutout was the Tribe pitching staff’s fourth of the season.
The Indians handed the ball to victorious starter Don Black (2-0, 5.74), who battled back and forth all night with White Sox pitcher Joe Haynes (2-6, 4.17). Haynes, a tough-luck loser, worked a complete game while Black was pulled after surrendering back-to-back baserunners to start the eighth inning. Reliever Russ Christopher eventually pulled a rabbit from his magic hat to save the game for the Indians.
Black and Haynes exchanged zeroes in every sense at the beginning portion of the ballgame. The White Sox did not have a runner reach base until the bottom of the third inning, while the Indians did not accomplish the feat until the top of the fifth. It was Ken Keltner, who initially was not expected to play because of an injury, who broke up the no-hit bid by Haynes.
With the lack of offense that was occurring, the Indians took advantage of a White Sox miscue in a big way in the top of the sixth. Catcher Jim Hegan tapped a ground ball to Sox first baseman Tony Lupien, who proceeded to boot the ball and allowed Hegan to reach first base on the error. Black sacrificed Hegan into scoring position, but Thurman Tucker struck out in what looked like another pivotal at bat of the ballgame. It was not to be, however, as Haynes grooved a pitch that Larry Doby smacked deep to center field for an RBI triple and a 1-0 Cleveland lead. Handed the first advantage of the game, Black continued to roll until fatigue may have caught up with him in the eighth.
Lupien led off the inning with a walk and moved to second base when Taffy Wright smoked a single to right. Player/manager Lou Boudreau then pulled Black, having worked seven-plus innings and brought in Christopher. Christopher put himself into hot water when he walked Ralph Weigel to load the bases with nobody out and the Indians winning by only the slimmest of margins.
As luck would have it, however, Christopher caught a big break when Bob Kennedy bounced a tapper back in his direction. Christopher fired it home for the first out of the inning, but the relay to first was not quick enough to retire Kennedy. The following batter, Don Kolloway, smacked a grounder to Boudreau, who also threw home to cut off the potential score and Christopher was now only an out away from getting out of the jam. He did just that when Cass Michaels grounded out to third to end the threat.
Adding insult to injury, the Indians tacked on another run in the top of the ninth to completely take the wind out of the White Sox’s sails. Boudreau led off the inning with a double and came home to score when Eddie Robinson singled him home for the final 2-0 score. Christopher worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the season.
The Indians will try to take another game from the White Sox on Saturday on Chicago’s south side. Bob Lemon (5-2, 2.41) will take the hill for the Indians while Bill Wight (2-3, 5.15) will oppose him for Chicago. The Tribe will look to keep pace with first place Philadelphia, who was victorious over the third place Yankees Friday night by a score of 6-3.
Photo: Cleveland Memory Project