July 6, 1948
There’s a long list of reasons for the Indians to be battered and embarrassed after falling 9-0 tonight to the Detroit Tigers in front of 41,655 beleaguered fans.
They could be embarrassed because their offense could muster just six hits, because they never got a base runner to third base or because they allowed a mammoth home run into the upper deck in left field to a pitcher.
Regardless of the reason to be embarrassed, the Tribe’s defeat drops them to 17-18 overall at home and is now their seventh straight loss under the Cleveland Stadium lights. It also leaves them in a virtual tie with the Philadelphia Athletics for the first place spot in the American League. Cleveland is just ten percentage points ahead of the Mackmen because they have played six fewer games.
After three solid innings by both starters, the Tribe’s Bob Muncrief and Tigers’ Dizzy Trout, the game took different paths in the fourth inning for the two hurlers. In the top of the fourth, George Kell doubled to left field and Hoot Evers walked before Vic Wertz hit a two-out, three-run homer to the opposite field in left. His fourth homer of the season gave Detroit a 3-0 lead and was his first homer to the opposite field of his young career.
“That’s the first home run I’ve hit into left since I came up to the majors,” Wertz said, who played 102 games in his rookie season last year. “I knew that I hit it pretty hard, but didn’t think it would carry that far. Was I glad when I saw it rolling out near that track!”
Detroit added three more runs in the fifth inning, ignited by Trout hitting a towering home run to the left field upper deck to start the inning. Sluggers like Ted Williams, Pat Seerey and Jeff Heath have reached the upper rim of Cleveland Stadium, but Trout becomes the first pitcher. A stiff breeze was coming off the shores of Lake Erie this evening and may have helped Trout’s blast, and his pitching.
“It sure didn’t hurt my pitching and I think it must have gotten under that home run ball. I don’t remember ever hitting one that far,” Trout said.
After three straight singles to Eddie Mayo, Kell and Dick Wakefield, Mayo scored and Indians manager Lou Boudreau excused Muncrief from the game, trailing 5-0. Steve Gromek came on in relief, allowing one inherited runner to score when Evers flew out to right field. It was 6-0 after the fifth inning.
Muncrief (5-2) was shelled in the fourth and fifth innings, allowing nine hits and six runs – including two homers – in just four and one-third innings of work. Gromek proceeded to pitch two and two-third scoreless innings, allowing just one hit before being removed for a pinch hitter.
Trout (8-9) meanwhile dazzled as he scattered six hits and shutout the Tribe while walking three and striking out seven. Trout had lost his last four decisions before earning the win tonight.
“Paul had plenty of stuff out there,” Tigers manager Steve O’Neill said while hurriedly packing to catch the midnight boat back for the Auto City. “He’s had rough luck in several games, but now I think he’s started.”
“I took my time tonight and was real quick,” Trout said. “I’ve been throwing too fast and it’s hurt my control. In the last few games I’ve been missing the plate – just by inches, but still missing.”
Cleveland’s offense might have been stalled in part to the loss of Eddie Robinson from the lineup. The bulky first baseman injured his right ankle when he was caught in a rundown between third base and home plate in the first inning of the second game of the doubleheader. Robinson remained in the game and had three hits. He’s been the hottest hitter in the Tribe lineup since returning to a starting spot on Saturday in St. Louis. He had seven hits in 13 at bats since Saturday, including two home runs. He’s expected to miss several days with his newest ankle injury.
Detroit had little problem mustering offense. The Bengals rapped out 14 hits, including three from Kell. Five other players had two hits apiece. Detroit tallied two more runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth off of Indians reliever Don Black. Mayo singled to center field to drive home two in the eighth inning and Wertz capped a four-RBI day when he singled home Evers in the ninth inning.
The loss continues the Tribe’s home woes and now shines light on their inability to win at night.
Cleveland will try again tomorrow night when they welcome the Chicago White Sox to the lakefront. The Tribe will try to get Bob Feller (8-9, 3.72) back to even on his pitching record. He’s won one game and lost one game against the Pale Hose this season, the league’s worst team. Earl Caldwell (1-3, 4.66), a right-hander, will pitch for Chicago.