July 20, 1948
If the Indians miss the World Series by a game or two, they might be able to point directly at Ray Scarborough for their disappointment.
The Senators’ starter received early runs in the first two innings, then delivered eight strong innings, defeating the Tribe 2-1 Tuesday night in front of 17,114 fans who did not leave their seats until the final out.
Cleveland left the tying run just 90 from home. This is the second time Scarborough has beaten the Tribe by a 2-1 score this year. A month ago, he beat Bob Lemon by the same score here in Washington.
Tonight’s game was the third time in the four game series in which one run was the difference in the contest. In each of those games, the losing team had the tying run on base when the game ended. The lone non one-run game was a 12-inning affair that the Indians won by two Sunday afternoon.
Cleveland took the lead in the top of the first inning when Dale Mitchell started the game with a single to right field. The base hit extends Mitchell’s hitting streak to 17 games. He quickly stole second base and raced home when Larry Doby – back in the starting lineup after his second ankle injury in a month – singled up the middle to give the Indians a quick 1-0 lead after just two hitters. Doby was caught stealing before Hank Edwards and Lou Boudreau each flew out to end the inning.
Washington tallied a run of its own in the first inning, also using the stolen base. With one out, Gil Coan hit a high chopper to third base that Ken Keltner could not make a play on. Coan stole second while Carden Gillenwater struck out for the second out. But, Bud Stewart tied the game with his sixth straight hit in as many at bats against the Tribe. Stewart singled to center, plating Coan and tying the game at one. Stewart was 5-for-5 yesterday.
The Tribe had another chance to score in the top of the second inning, but this time could not get the key hit. After Joe Gordon walked and Keltner singled to put runners on first and second with no one out, Eddie Robinson grounded back to the pitcher who cut down Gordon at third. Then Jim Hegan grounded to third, but Eddie Yost had to throw across the diamond for the second out, allowing both runners to move into scoring position. Tribe hurler Don Black couldn’t help himself at the plate though and struck out to end the inning.
Black’s wildness cost him the final run of the game in the bottom of the second inning. He walked Mickey Vernon to start the inning. Vernon stole second base as Al Kozar struck out. Al Evans followed with another walk to put two on with only one out. Scarborough grounded to Keltner, who had to go to second for just a force out, leaving Nats’ on the corners with two outs. This time, Yost came through with an infield single. The grounder scooted by Robinson at first base. Gordon was able to make the play in the outfield grass and throw to Black covering the bag, but Yost beat him to first base and Washington had a 2-1 lead.
After the second inning, both Black and Scarborough settled in, scattering hits but avoiding danger on the scoreboard. Black gave the Indians six solid innings but was removed from the game for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh inning when the Tribe had their next rally. Hegan singled and Mitchell walked to put two runners on with two out, but Doby couldn’t come through this time when he grounded out to Kozar at second base.
Ed Klieman worked the seventh inning and earned the first two outs of the eighth inning before Boudreau used Gene Bearden in a matchup situation to retire Tom McBride for the final out of the inning. Sherry Robertson, a left-handed hitter, originally was announced as the pinch-hitter for Scarborough, but after Bearden entered the game, Nats’ manager Joe Kuhel inserted McBride. The countermove didn’t work for Washington as they left runners on the corners to end the eighth inning. Washington stranded ten runners in the game.
The Indians came within feet of tying the game in the top of the eighth inning when Gordon hit a 400-foot double to left field that narrowly missed clearing the wall. Instead of his 19th home run, it became his eleventh double of the season, but Keltner was unable to get the two-out base hit to drive him home. Cleveland was just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position this evening.
With Scarborough out of the game, Cleveland appeared to have one late-inning rally left in them for the series. Sid Hudson came on to pitch for Washington and after he struck out Robinson for the first out, Hegan singled to center fielder. Thurman Tucker pinch-hit for Bearden and laced a double to right field, hitting the wall sharply. Stewart made a fine play and relay throw to get the ball back into the infield and hold Hegan at third base with just one out.
Hegan was stranded, however, when Mitchell grounded out to second base with the infield in. Then, down to their last out, Doby lined sharply to left field, but Coan came charging in to catch the ball on the run and end the game.
Scarborough (7-5) earned the victory, tossing eight innings while scattering eight hits and walking two, but only allowing the one run in the first inning. Hudson earned his first save of the season. Black (2-2) suffered a tough luck loss, allowing just two runs and six hits while walking five and striking out four. Despite the loss, this was one of Black’s better starts of the season as he has lost time on the mound over the last few weeks due to poor performances.
The Tribe, leaders in offense in the American League, outhit Washington ten to seven, but couldn’t hit with runners in scoring position. Both Mitchell and Boudreau struck out for the sixth time this season in the game as Scarborough’s curves were too much for the Indians’ top two hitters.
The Tribe might have a tired pitching staff when they reach New York for a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon. Bearden, Russ Christopher and Klieman all pitched in three of the four games in the series with Washington. Satchel Paige, Lemon and Sam Zoldak pitched in two. Boudreau used 18 pitchers in the four game series.
Cleveland will need quality starts tomorrow afternoon in Yankee Stadium when a big crowd is expected to be on hand. The Bronx Bombers are planning to draw over 125,000 fans in the next three days. Bob Muncrief (5-2, 3.48) will take the mound for the Tribe in the first game against nemesis and southpaw Ed Lopat (8-5, 3.48) of the Yankees. In the second game, Steve Gromek (4-1, 3.22) will toe the rubber for Cleveland against Spec Shea (3-9, 3.76) for New York.
Despite the loss this evening in Washington, the Indians remain a full game ahead of Philadelphia for first place and three and a half ahead of New York, who each lost. Boston defeated St. Louis 8-3 at Fenway Park to cut their deficit to just four and a half games in the standings.
Photo: Associated Press photo