June 6, 1948
Bob Lemon went the distance, while enduring his worst inning of the season, and drove in two runs to help the Indians win the first game of this Sunday’s doubleheader. They defeated the Philadelphia Athletics, 5-3, in front of a sold out crowd at Shibe Park.
Lemon’s eighth win of the season is good enough for the lead in all the majors. For the short term, the victory gives the Tribe a full game and one-half lead over the Athletics in the American League standings. The two teams will face off again in the second game of the twin bill in just moments.
After two hitless innings from both teams, the Tribe cracked the scoreboard on the Mackmen and their hurler, Phil Marchildon. With one out, Jim Hegan walked and Lemon doubled to center field, scoring Hegan all the way from first base. After Dale Mitchell grounded to second base to advance Lemon to third, Hank Edwards bunted for a base hit, beating the throw to first base and allowing Lemon to score. The hustle by Hegan and Edwards staked the Tribe to a 2-0 lead.
Cleveland tacked on another run in the top of the fourth inning when Eddie Robinson singled and Wally Judnich doubled to right field to put runners on second and third base with no one out. Joe Gordon lofted a fly ball to right field deep enough to score Robinson and extend the lead to 3-0. Ken Keltner and Hegan each popped up on the infield, though, and the wig-wammers could not get Judnich home from third base.
However, the scrappy Athletics battled back in front of their loud and boisterous crowd of 27,900. With one out, Ferris Fain reached via an infield hit and Hank Majeski immediately homered to right field, cutting the Tribe lead to 3-2. It was Majeski’s sixth round-tripper of the season.
After Ray Coleman grounded back to first base, Buddy Rosar, Pete Suder and Marchildon each singled. Marchildon’s base knock scored Rosar and tied the game. After Lemon walked Eddie Joost, the bases were loaded and game was tied at three. It appeared Lemon was on the brink of being knocked out of the box, but he buckled down and struck out pinch-hitter, Sam Chapman to end the inning and keep the score deadlocked.
The Tribe retook the lead in the top of the sixth inning when manager Lou Boudreau homered to left field to start the inning. It was Boudreau’s fifth homer of the season, eclipsing the four he hit all of last season. His 34th RBI gets him past halfway to the 67 runs he drove in last season, yet today the Tribe is just reaching the quarter mark of the season.
Cleveland added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Hegan hit a 405-foot triple to left-center field. Lemon followed with a drive off the right field wall that was just feet from a home run. The blast was good enough to score Hegan, but sharp enough that Lemon was thrown out at second base by Athletics’ right fielder, Coleman.
The fifth run would be the nail in the coffin to Marchildon’s (5-4) day. He pitched seven innings, allowing seven hits, five runs and two walks. Nels Potter took over and pitched the final two frames.
Meanwhile, after Lemon’s poor fourth, he locked in and held the Athletics in check for the remainder of the game. After the fourth, he only allowed three hits and a walk to Philadelphia. No base runner reached second base. Lemon (8-3) pitched his eighth complete game. Aside from the game he won in relief, Lemon has gone the distance in each of his victories. His eight wins are now tops in all of the majors.
Cleveland extends its lead in the American League standings to a full game and one-half over the Athletics and three over the New York Yankees. They’ll continue the four game series with Philadelphia this afternoon when Steve Gromek makes his first start of the season for the Tribe against the Athletics’ Dick Fowler (3-0).
Photo: ootpdevelopments.com (pictured: Hegan)