Lemon Dominates, Tucker Injured; Indians 4, White Sox 0

May 29, 1948

In what very well may prove to be a bittersweet victory, the Cleveland Indians blanked the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, 4-0.

The sweet part of the victory came in the form of starting pitcher Bob Lemon (6-2, 2.12), who hurled his third complete game shutout of the season. Lemon, who now has a team-leading six victories, allowed only four hits and three walks while striking out five. The bitter portion of the contest came in the eighth inning, when center fielder and leadoff hitter Thurman Tucker injured his finger during his final at-bat.

Early indications are that Tucker might have broken the digit and might miss a significant amount of time. That’s not a good sign, considering the Indians are already missing second baseman Joe Gordon and third baseman Ken Keltner is also not 100 percent.

Facing off against Lemon was White Sox pitcher Bill Wight (2-4, 4.63), who took the loss even though he pitched well enough to win. Wight worked eight innings in the ballgame and allowed two runs on four hits. Wight did have some control issues, however, walking five Indian hitters.

Both offenses were quiet early, as the scoreboard showed all zeroes until the top of the fourth inning. Tucker led off the inning with a single and left fielder Allie Clark sacrificed him to second base. Pat Seerey walked and then Lou Boudreau ripped a single into left to score Tucker. Seerey, who had moved to third on the player/manager’s single, scored another run when Keltner perfectly executed a squeeze play which made the score 2-0 Indians.

Lemon, meanwhile, was mowing down the White Sox, but did get some help from his teammates as well. Double plays in the first and fourth innings greatly benefited the Indians starting pitcher, as did a caught stealing in the second. The twin-killing in the fourth was particularly impressive, as Tucker gunned out a runner at second after making a nifty catch in center field.

Wight settled down after a shaky fourth inning and allowed only two baserunners in the fifth and then two in the eighth before exiting the ballgame. Three of the four Tribe runners came via the walk and all four were stranded without scoring. Reliever Earl Harrist came in to pitch the ninth but was not effective.

Keltner started the insurance-rally with a leadoff single in the game’s final frame and was followed by an Eddie Robinson sacrifice to move him to second. Johnny Berardino drove Keltner home with an RBI single and moved to second on the late throw to the plate. A fly out from Jim Hegan followed and then Lemon helped his own cause by singling home Berardino to make the score its final of 4-0. Lemon worked a 1-2-3 ninth and struck out Ralph Weigel to put an exclamation point on his masterpiece.

The shutout was Lemon’s second in as many tries and runs his consecutive scoreless inning streak to 23. This puts Lemon’s total almost halfway to the Major League record of 55 2/3 innings by Walter Johnson. The Big Train’s record has stood since 1913.

The Indians (21-9) will go for the sweep of the White Sox (7-24) on Sunday, but will need to win two in order to do so. Game one of the Sunday doubleheader will feature Indians ace Bob Feller (5-3, 2.79) against Chicago’s Glen Moulder (0-2, 6.64). Game two will match up Cleveland’s rookie Bill Kennedy (1-0, 5.23) and the Pale Hose’s Bob Gillespie (0-0, 11.81).

Photo: Cleveland Public Library Photograph Collection

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