July 3, 1948
The Indians scored early and often in their 8-2 triumph over the St. Louis Browns on Saturday afternoon. Lou Boudreau and Eddie Robinson sparked the Tribe offense with home runs and were responsible for the first five Tribe runs.
Cleveland’s victory made the way for Bob Feller to even his pitching record at eight wins and eight losses. The hard-throwing right-hander is now no longer the only Tribesman with a losing pitching record.
The Indians took the lead and never looked back in the top of the second inning when Robinson hit his ninth home run of the season off of St. Louis starter Ned Garver. Robinson’s solo homer landed on the right field pavilion and gave the Indians a 1-0 lead. It was his first appearance in the starting lineup in five games. He had two hits yesterday after replacing Johnny Berardino.
Boudreau helped add to the lead in the next inning when he hit a 370-foot homer to left field, giving the Tribe a 2-0 lead. It was Boudreau’s eighth homer of the season and helped keep his batting average a healthy .370. He trails just Ted Williams for the league lead in batting average.
Cleveland cracked open the game in the top of the fifth inning, possibly at the expense of Brownies right fielder Al Zarilla. After Hank Edwards and Boudreau each walked with one out, Robinson hit a triple to right field scoring both men and opening up the score to 4-0. Robinson’s hit would have been just a double, but as Zarilla chased after the ball he was knocked unconscious when he ran into a concrete wall along the sidelines. By the time Paul Lehner retrieved the ball, Robinson had rolled into third with a triple.
Ken Keltner snuck a single through the left side with two outs to bring home Robinson and stake the Tribe to a 5-0 lead in the middle of the fifth inning. It ended Garver’s (2-7) afternoon, leaving for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth, allowing five runs and eight hits while walking four and striking out three. The young righty appeared still too green for the league leading Indians. Frank Biscan came on to relieve Garver in the sixth inning.
St. Louis did scratch the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning before Biscan took to the mound. Sam Dente hit a one-out double over Wally Judnich’s head and came rumbling home on Chuck Stevens single to center field. The back-to-back hits cut Cleveland’s lead to 5-1. Feller had allowed only two hits before the fifth inning.
Joe Gordon earned his 59th RBI of the season in the top of the seventh inning when he singled home Edwards. Edwards led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Boudreau before scampering home to make it 6-1, Indians.
Feller appeared to weaken in the bottom of the eighth inning when he gave up singles to Bob Dillinger, Jerry Priddy and Whitey Platt. Platt’s single scored Dillinger and made the game 6-2. It also was enough to have Boudreau get the Tribe bullpen to scurry into action, but Feller induced a ground ball back to himself that he whirled and started a double play with to end the inning and the rally.
Cleveland had all the insurance they needed, but tacked on a couple of more in the top of the ninth inning. Edwards doubled down the right field line to start the inning and Boudreau walked. After Robinson flew out, advancing Edwards to third, Gordon logged his 60th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly of his own to right field. After Keltner walked, Judnich singled to center field, scoring Boudreau and making the score 8-2.
Feller (8-8) finished the ninth inning, earning the complete game victory. He scattered nine hits around his two runs. Five of his nine hits allowed were in the two innings he allowed runs. Feller walked two and struck out one, leaving him a strikeout behind teammate Bob Lemon for the league lead in whiffs. Feller has 70 strikeouts while Lemon has 71.
Cleveland used 13 hits to make their eight runs, including three by Dale Mitchell and two more each by Robinson and Keltner. Robinson drove in three runs in his return to the lineup. Keltner’s two base hits upped his season average to .294.
The win keeps the Tribe’s slim half game lead in tact over Philadelphia. The New York Yankees also won today, remaining just two games back.
The Tribe will conclude their western journey tomorrow on Independence Day with a doubleheader against the Browns. Lemon (11-6, 2.38) and Gene Bearden (6-3, 3.00) are expected to toil for Cleveland. Lemon will be looking to retake the Major League lead in wins. Detroit’s Hal Newhouser has tied him with eleven victories yesterday. St. Louis will start Fred Sanford (6-7, 4.12) and Cliff Fannin (3-8, 5.10).
Photo: AP Photo