July 17, 1948
Philadelphia Athletics and American League All-Star pitcher Joe Coleman allowed just six base hits in blanking the Cleveland Indians on Saturday, 5-0.
The win for Connie Mack and the Athletics earned the series split for Philadelphia and cut the Indians lead in the division back down to one-half game, just as it had been when Cleveland came to town on Thursday for the start of the four-game set.
The A’s scored with a clutch two-out double by Hank Majeski in the first off of Cleveland starter Sam Zoldak. Eddie Joost started the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a sacrifice by Barney McCosky. Don White grounded into a fielder’s choice, as Zoldak threw to Lou Boudreau with Joost in a run down between second and third to cut down the lead runner. A single to center by Ferris Fain moved White into scoring position, and he scored on a double to left by Majeski to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Athletics struck for four off of Zoldak. A pair of one-out singles by McCosky and White was followed by a double by Fain. Both runners scored on an error in center by Larry Doby. An intentional walk was issued to Majeski to open up the double play possibilities, but Elmer Valo lined a single to center to score both runners and increase the Athletics’ advantage to 5-0.
Coleman (9-6) did well to space out the Indians base runners to prevent any true scoring threats. No Indians player moved past second in the game.
Cleveland had a pair of hits in the first inning, but could not advance a runner beyond second base. Leadoff base runners in both the second and third innings were eliminated on double play grounders. Leadoff singles in the fifth and sixth were erased on force outs at second base.
All of the Indians hits were singles. Three of them belonged to left fielder Dale Mitchell, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and two more were by third baseman Ken Keltner. Boudreau was on base twice as well with a single and a walk, decreasing his season batting average slightly to .362.
After the early problems, Zoldak (4-6) settled in to give the Indians seven innings on the mound. He allowed a total of eight hits and only walked one batter. Four of the five runs he allowed were earned.
The Indians fall to 47-30 with the loss and have now dropped two straight. They leave Philadelphia clinging to a lead in the American League and will continue their 15-game east coast trip in the nation’s capital to face the Washington Senators.
Manager Boudreau indicated on Friday that Satchel Paige (1-0, 3.38 ERA) will start against the Nationals in one of the games of the doubleheader on Sunday. It will be his first Major League start after a pair of relief appearances. Gene Bearden (7-3, 2.80 ERA) is scheduled to start the other game in his first start since a complete game effort on July 8th.