Tribe Blows Out Bombers in Second Game; Indians 9, Yankees 4

June 12, 1948

As the sun began to set in the Bronx on Saturday evening, Yankee Stadium sat silent. For the World Series champions, the Yankees might have seen their chances of repeating fall behind the horizon today as the upstart Indians silenced them.

Cleveland won a close, back-and-forth game in the first contest, but the Indians blew the Yankees out during the second game, winning 9-4. The Tribe plated all nine runs before the Yankees were able to score. It wasn’t until late that the Bombers were able to score against the Indians bullpen.

The Tribe now leads the third-place Yankees by six games and the Philadelphia Athletics by three and one-half games in the American League.

What started as a pitcher’s duel between the Indians’ Bob Muncrief and the Yankees’ Spec Shea began to turn one-sided in the top of the fourth inning. Wally Judnich walked to start the fourth before Joe Gordon crushed his second home run of the day and first in the second game. Gordon’s blast to left field gave the Indians a 2-0 lead on his seventh home run of the season.

He did not have to wait long to hit his eighth homer of the season as he took Shea deep again in the top of the sixth. The solo shot extended the Indians lead to 3-0 after six innings.

Meanwhile, Muncrief and Steve Gromek were handling the vaunted Yankee lineup. Muncrief was forced to leave in the fifth inning with a developing blister on his throwing hand. Through four and two-third innings, Muncrief (3-1) allowed five hits and one walk, while not allowing a run and striking out four. Gromek came on in relief of Muncrief and was dazzling early, only allowing a hit through his first inning and one-third.

Leading 3-0, the Indians blew the game wide open in the top of the seventh inning, and may have ended the Yankees’ pennant hopes at the same time. Dale Mitchell started the inning with a single off Shea to left field. Hank Edwards immediately tripled to the center field fence, scoring Mitchell. Edwards would be able to trot home momentarily when Lou Boudreau doubled to center field and make the game 5-0, Cleveland.

Yankees manager Bucky Harris had seen enough and removed Shea in favor of Randy Gumpert. After getting Eddie Robinson to pop up to second base, Judnich doubled to right field to bring home Boudreau and Judnich would scamper home a hitter later when Gordon singled to left field, making it 7-0.

After Keltner popped out, Joe Tipton singled to right field, advancing Gordon to second base. Gromek singled to left field, scoring Gordon and advancing Tipton to second and Mitchell issued the final blow – a double to center field to bring home Tipton – and make the game 9-0.

Gumpert was removed after Mitchell’s double for Karl Drews. Drews recorded the final out of the inning, but the damage was done. Shea (3-6) pitched six innings, allowing eight hits and six runs. Gumpert had less success, allowing five hits and three runs while only recording two outs.

The Yankees finally tallied a run in the bottom of the seventh inning when Phil Rizzuto, Bobby Brown and Tommy Henrich each drew walks from Gromek to load the bases. Johnny Lindell bunted to score Rizzuto and keep everyone safe, but Gromek got Joe DiMaggio to fly out and avoid a big inning.

Gromek, who pitched well in relief of Muncrief, seemed to fatigue in the ninth inning. Leading 9-1, he walked Rizzuto, allowed a pinch-hit double to Cliff Mapes, then walked Snuffy Stirnweiss to load the bases. Indians manager Boudreau removed Gromek for Don Black. Black, who has not pitched in two weeks because of a broken toe, walked Henrich to force in a run and make the score 9-2.

With the bases still loaded, and Boudreau treating this series with major importance, he went back to the bullpen for Russ Christopher. The lanky sidewinder did little for Boudreau’s nerves when he walked in another run when he issued a free pass to Lindell. However, he buckled down and got a shallow fly out to center from DiMaggio. Yogi Berra grounded to shortstop, but Gordon’s relay throw from Boudreau to first base was not in time and another run scored while the second out of the inning was recorded. Still leading 9-4, Christopher ended the game with Billy Johnson grounding out to Boudreau. While eventful, it was Christopher’s eighth save of the season.

Gordon and Boudreau led the Indians’ offense with three hits apiece. Gordon’s two homers helped supply his four runs batted in during the game. Boudreau drove in a run of his own.

The win gives the Indians a six-game lead over the Yankees in the standings. Boudreau felt this was a series in which they needed to “shoot the works,” and they have to this point. They’ll try to sweep the Yankees in their own park when Bob Feller (5-5) takes the mound for the Tribe against New York’s southpaw, Eddie Lopat (2-5). Lopat has struggled this season with New York after being a tough mound opponent for the Tribe when he was a Chicago White Sox.

The Indians will have the services of Jim Hegan behind the plate again tomorrow. Hegan left the team after the June 8 game in Boston to tend to his ailing wife back in Cleveland. Tipton has caught every inning since he left the team, including the two games today. Hegan arrived at Yankee Stadium in the sixth inning of the second game today, but was not used in the contest.

New York will have some extra supporters in the crowd Sunday afternoon on Babe Ruth Day. The Yankees will celebrate 25 years at Yankee Stadium and will retire Ruth’s jersey prior to tomorrow’s game. An old-timers game between the 1923 Yankees and a group of former Yankees will face off before Feller and Lopat take the mound.


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