June 19, 1948
The Cleveland Indians gave themselves a little bit of breathing room in the division on Saturday, as they ended their five-game losing skid by blanking the Philadelphia Athletics by a 4-0 final.
Indians starter Bob Muncrief left the game and went to the hospital for X-rays near his right elbow after being hit by a line drive off of the bat of Philadelphia’s Hank Majeski. Muncrief had led the way for the Tribe, facing the minimum number of batters through the first six innings. He erased both a leadoff single to start the game and a walk in the third on double plays. He did not face any substantial trouble until the seventh, when the A’s ran themselves out of a huge scoring opportunity.
The Indians, meanwhile, bunched all of their scoring into two innings.
Drawing just a pair of walks their first time through the batting order against Philadelphia starter Bill McCahan, the Indians struck in the bottom of the third for a pair. Jim Hegan led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a groundout to short by pitcher Muncrief. Dale Mitchell drove Hegan in from second with a single through short. With Larry Doby at the plate, Mitchell stole second and moved to third on a flyout to left. Walks to Lou Boudreau and Hank Edwards loaded the bases and Joe Gordon drew a third consecutive walk in the inning to force in Mitchell with the inning’s second run.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Indians scored twice more. Doby led off the inning with a double to left-center and advanced to third on a line drive single to right by Boudreau. McCahan then retired the next two batters before Ken Keltner delivered a two-out, two-run double to deep right-center, giving the game its final 4-0 tally.
In the top of the seventh, the Athletics found themselves in a key situation and failed to deliver. Shortstop Eddie Joost reached on an error by Keltner at third base. Muncrief got two flyball outs before his trouble started. Ferris Fain singled to right and Majeski singled back to the mound off of Muncrief. With the ball deflected into short center field, shortstop Boudreau retrieved the ball and threw to Keltner, who caught Joost off of third to end the inning.
Muncrief (4-1) was finished after seven innings and the elbow injury. He allowed just three hits and walked one in the game to earn the win.
“I never expected him to swing at that one,” Muncrief said from trainer Lefty Weisman’s table afterwards. “That pitch was going in there right across the eyes and I was sure he’d let it go past for a ball. When he swung and hit it toward me, I wasn’t ready to field it and there wasn’t anything to do but duck. I just didn’t get my elbow down.” He noted that he did not expect to miss his next start.
Russ Christopher relieved him and pitched two quick innings, retiring all six outs via ground balls in the infield.
McCahan (0-2) went the distance for the A’s, allowing four runs on six hits. He walked eight batters in his eight innings of work.
The runs batted in for Gordon and Keltner gave the two Indians infielders 46 and 44 on the season, respectively.
Stockholder and comedian Bob Hope was in attendance at the ball game, arriving just prior to game time and sitting in a box near the Indians’ dugout. He later showcased his acting skills by broadcasting a portion of the contest.
Cleveland improves to 32-18 with the win and ends their five-game losing streak. They maintain their lead over the Athletics in the American League. The shutout was the ninth of the season for the Indians.
Photo: Cleveland Memory Project (pictured, left to right: Bill McKechnie, Muddy Ruel, Boudreau, Hope)