Bearden Beaten and Doby Taken Off on Stretcher; Senators 5, Indians 2

June 27, 1948

After eleven games against the streaking Boston Red Sox and the pennant contending Philadelphia Athletics and New York Yankees, the culmination of the Tribe’s 15-game homestand was supposed to be easier with the second division dweller Washington Senators coming to town. The Indians have struggled, however, and dropped their second game of three and the first half of Sunday’s doubleheader, 5-2.

Cleveland’s misfortune is made worse that Gene Bearden has now been hit around by opponents for his fourth straight start and Larry Doby was injured in the sixth inning. Just as the young, promised star seemed to be finding his place in the Tribe’s lineup, Doby injured his ankle running the bases and was carried off the field on a stretcher before being taken to the hospital for X-rays.

Bearden has not won a game since June 8 at Fenway Park in Boston. He did not appear to have good stuff today, and had Dale Mitchell and Doby not each made fine running catches, the score could have been worse.

Ray Scarborough, the Nats’ pitcher, started the scoring off of Bearden in the top of the third inning. He started the inning with a single to center field. Eddie Yost‘s sacrifice bunt attempt ended with Bearden throwing the ball wildly into center field and both runners advancing to scoring position. Al Kozar lined to center field and Doby made a fine, charging, sliding catch on his knees for the out. Carden Gillenwater struck out looking before Tom McBride singled to center with two outs to score Scarborough, but Doby was able to throw Yost out at the plate to keep the Washington lead just 1-0.

Scarborough relinquished only one hit over the first four innings, but Senators manager Joe Kuhel had a short leash on his starter. After getting the first out in the fifth inning, he walked Ken Keltner and allowed singles to Eddie Robinson and Jim Hegan. Hegan’s base hit brought Keltner in to the plate and evened the score at one.

With runners on first and second base and just one out, Kuhel summoned Forrest Thompson from the Nats’ bullpen. Scarborough left after just four and one-third innings, allowing just one run on three hits. He struck out one and walked one. Thompson got Bearden and Mitchell to ground out on the infield, holding the game at a tie score.

Washington quickly retook the lead in the top of the sixth inning when Bearden lost his command. With one out, Bearden walked McBride, uncorked a wild pitch to allow him to advance to second, then walked Mickey Vernon. After Doby made another fine running play on Junior Wooten’s liner for the second out, Mark Christman tripled over Doby’s head to the wall, scoring both runners and giving the Nats a 3-1 lead.

Already trailing, the game got worse for the Tribe in the bottom of the sixth inning when they lost a scoring opportunity and a budding key player. Doby led off the inning with a single to center field and advanced to second base when Boudreau grounded out to the right side. As Doby rounded second base, he turned his ankle and went down in a heap.

Doby was removed from the field on a stretcher and immediately X-rayed by Dr. Edward Castle, the team physician. The injury was later termed a sprain, but he will be unable to leave with the team this evening on their road trip for Detroit.

Thurman Tucker pinch-ran for Doby on second base and remained in the game. Allie Clark pinch-hit for Hank Edwards against Thompson, avoiding the lefty versus lefty matchup, and drew a walk to put two on and only one out. Kuhel again quickly went to the bullpen, getting Tom Ferrick, who was able to get Joe Gordon to fly out to right field and Keltner to ground out to third base in a fielder’s choice.

The walls on Bearden’s shaky effort finally collapsed in the top of the seventh inning when, after retiring the first two hitters, he allowed a single to Kozar and double to Gillenwater. Boudreau had seen enough and called for Russ Christopher, but pinch-hitter Bud Stewart doubled to the right field gap, scoring both runs and making it 5-1, Nats. Christopher only remained in the game to strike out Vernon and end the inning.

Bearden (6-3) struggled with control and command of his pitches today and his knuckleball looked rather flat for much of his six and two-third innings. He allowed five runs – four earned – on nine hits, while walking two and striking out three. After what was a very impressive May, the rookie Bearden has looked quite pedestrian for much of June. With Bearden and Feller’s recent struggles, Boudreau finds himself searching for consistency in the rotation behind Bob Lemon.

Steve Gromek, who has struggled himself lately, pitched the final two innings and did not allow a hit.

Cleveland did get back one run in the bottom of the seventh inning when pinch-hits by Hal Peck and Wally Judnich cut the score to 5-2. Peck replaced Hegan in the lineup and doubled before Judnich singled him home when he replaced Christopher in the batting order.

The Tribe could not claw any closer in the final two innings, however. A two-out single by Joe Tipton and pinch-hit double by Johnny Berardino did bring the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Mitchell flew out to center field to end the game.

Thompson (1-1) only worked an inning, allowing just a hit and a walk, but picked up his first victory of the year. Ferrick worked three and two-thirds, scattering four hits and allowing just a run to earn his sixth save of the season.

Cleveland will conclude the homestand in the second game of the doubleheader this afternoon. They’ll likely return to Tucker in center field and continue to search for pitching help. With Philadelphia’s 6-5 victory in the first game of their doubleheader in Chicago, the Indians are now in a virtual tie in the standings.

Newcomer Sam Zoldak (3-4, 4.31) will make his second start with the Indians this afternoon against the Nats’ southpaw, Mickey Haefner (3-5, 3.63).


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