June 18, 1948
Indians starter Bob Lemon, forced into the ball game because of four separate rain delays in Cleveland, walked in the tying and go-ahead runs in the seventh after loading the bases to give the Philadelphia Athletics a 5-4 victory on Friday night.
The Athletics took a 2-0 lead in the first off of rookie Gene Bearden. After a leadoff walk to Eddie Joost, number three hitter Sam Chapman took Bearden deep to left for his fifth home run of the season.
The Indians struck back in the bottom of the first off of Athletics starter Dick Fowler. Dale Mitchell drew a leadoff walk and Larry Doby, starting his second straight game in center field, did likewise. Lou Boudreau and Hank Edwards both popped out in foul territory, but Joe Gordon delivered a clutch RBI-double to left to score Mitchell from second. With two in scoring position, Fowler induced a third foul pop of the inning to Ken Keltner.
Cleveland took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second. Bearden walked with two outs and Mitchell took a Fowler pitch into the right field seats. The two-run shot for Mitchell was his first of the season.
Gordon padded the Indians’ lead in the bottom of the third, when he drove a two-out pitch from Fowler out of the yard. A 45-minute rain delay followed, but after play was briefly resumed, another shower stopped it again. The game resumed after the midnight hour.
Fowler’s night was done after Gordon’s home run. He allowed four runs and four walks with three hits in two and two-thirds innings of work. The right-handed Canadian was 1-1 in his previous two starts against Cleveland this season.
Bearden’s night ended shortly after Fowler’s in the top of the fourth. Chapman drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a passed ball by Jim Hegan. After a strikeout, Bearden gave up a single to center to Hank Majeski, scoring Chapman to cut the deficit to 4-3. Don Black relieved and retired the next two batters to end the inning.
Bearden allowed just two hits on the night, but his four walks hurt him. He struck out three. It was the fourth time in nine starts that Bearden has allowed three earned runs or more in a game.
Lemon (9-5), who had come on as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth, got into trouble quickly in the seventh. He struck out the first batter of the inning, Buddy Rosar, but then walked Pete Suder. Pinch-hitter Herman Franks, batting for the pitcher, singled to center and was lifted for pinch-runner Billy DeMars. Joost struck out swinging for the second out before Lemon lost the strike zone completely.
Ray Coleman walked to load up the bases for the heart of the order. Chapman worked a walk, scoring Suder to tie the game at four. Rudy York followed suit, scoring the pinch-runner and giving the lead back to the Athletics. Boudreau made his move after the lead swap, bringing in Ed Klieman in relief of Lemon. Majeski grounded back to Klieman to end the inning.
The loss was the Indians’ fifth straight. Cleveland remains in front of Philadelphia for the American League lead.
Delays struck for the 44,840 fans in attendance in the first, second, and twice in the third.
In player news, Boudreau is now the top vote getter in the All-Star balloting. The Indians manager and starting shortstop now leads Boston’s Ted Williams by 146 votes, 5,949 to 5,803.
The Indians also announced that 19-year-old pitcher Jim Driftmyer, expected to pitch for their Batavia, New York, affiliate, left Friday to report to the team’s farm club in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Bob Muncrief will take the mound for the Indians in Saturday’s start against Philadelphia’s Bill McCahan. Muncrief (3-1, 2.63 ERA) earned the win his last time out against the New York Yankees. McCahan (0-1, 7.00) has missed much of the season with an arm injury, but the former no-hit pitcher looked healthy in an exhibition against Pittsburgh on Monday night.