July 25, 1948
The final touches were applied to a disastrous East Coast trip Sunday afternoon, when the Boston Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians 3-0 in front of 32,190 Boston fans who like their pennant chances more each day.
The loss concludes a 6-8 road trip to the east coming out of the All-Star break. Cleveland has now lost four in a row and six of their last seven to end the trip. Like many of their defeats, the Tribe was in the game all afternoon, but narrowly found defeat just inches away from a potential victory.
Today’s contest was much closer than the score might indicate. Cleveland had several opportunities to score, but Dom DiMaggio made several clutch defensive plays in the outfield to keep the Indians scoreless. Joe Dobson benefited from the fine plays, scattering just six hits for the Sox while earning his 13th win.
Boston took an early lead off of the Indians and starter Steve Gromek. In the bottom of the first inning the Boston plated two runs to establish an early lead. With one out Johnny Pesky doubled to right field and Ted Williams walked. Gromek bore down and struck out Vern Stephens for the second out, but Bobby Doerr tripled into the right center field gap, chasing both runners home and staking the Red Sox to a 2-0 lead.
Trailing early, the Indians had several chances to fight back into the game. In the second inning, they nearly tied the game, but DiMaggio made his first spectacular play of the game. Lou Boudreau started the inning with a single and Ken Keltner walked with one out. With two on and one out, Johnny Berardino laced a liner to left center field, but DiMaggio leapt at the base of the Green Monster to pull the ball down in the webbing of his glove. If the ball would have hit the wall, both runners likely would have scored. Instead, Jim Hegan struck out and the rally was thwarted.
The next inning, Gromek led off the inning with a low liner to center field that DiMaggio caught at his shoe tops. Had the ball landed safely, it could have spurred another rally. Dale Mitchell followed with a base hit to right field before he was erased on an inning-ending double play. The spectacled professor in center was a Tribe nemesis this afternoon.
DiMaggio recorded the final out of the fourth inning when Cleveland had two runners on. Berardino sent DiMaggio back to the deepest part of the ballpark for the final out after Joe Gordon and Keltner each singled with two outs.
Gromek settled down and handled the Red Sox well through six innings. After the first frame, Gromek only allowed four hits and a walk. He was removed in the top of the seventh inning for a pinch-hitter during the Indians’ last best rally opportunity of the game. Gromek (4-2) scattered six hits, and allowed just the two first-inning runs, while walking two and striking out three.
The Tribe had two on and only one out in the top of the seventh after Berardino walked and Hegan singled to left field. Eddie Robinson pinch-hit for Gromek but stuck out and Mitchell grounded weakly back to Dobson to end the inning.
Satchel Paige relieved Gromek and helped DiMaggio steal the show for the afternoon. The little leadoff hitter hit his sixth home run of the season. When the ball landed in the right field seats, the Red Sox led 3-0 and the game was nearly on ice in Boston summer heat.
Paige faced Williams for the first time in their careers, but little drama was mustered when the Splendid Splinter was walked. Paige worked the final two innings, allowing just the one hit and run.
Dobson (13-6) set the Indians down in order in both the eighth and ninth inning. He scattered six hits and four walks around DiMaggio’s fine defensive plays and four strikeouts.
The Indians now travel home for a two-week homestand against the same east coast teams that just knocked them from first place in the standings. After today’s play around the American League, Boston asserts to the top spot by just four percentage points ahead of Philadelphia. Cleveland is a game and a half behind the two teams and just two percentage points in front of the New York Yankees. The Tribe will take on all three pennant contenders in the homestand.