Cleveland Outslugs Boston, Cools Off Hot Sox; Indians 10, Red Sox 9

July 31, 1948

The first place Boston Red Sox came into Saturday’s game as hot as the summer heat, with a 23-5 record since the Fourth of July. The Cleveland Indians finally brought a touch of cold front with them, just as the calendar is about to roll over into August. The Indians defeated the Red Sox with a 10-9 extra innings effort at the Stadium on Saturday.

Bob Feller started the game for the Indians and was opposed at the start by former Indian Joe Dobson. Neither pitcher was particularly effective, but both battled and kept their teams in the ball game until being pulled in the middle innings. Both teams’ bullpens had a struggle to keep competitive, however.

The Red Sox started off hot against Feller, having five of the first six batters in the game reach base either via the hit or the walk. Feller, thankfully, was able to limit the damage and held Boston to just one run – an RBI single by Ted Williams – thanks in large part to a nifty line drive double play turned in by Joe Gordon and Lou Boudreau. The Indians were able to answer the 1-0 lead immediately.

In the bottom of the first, Larry Doby led off the inning with a walk and Allie Clark singled him to third. Doby then scored on a Dale Mitchell fielder’s choice that evened the score at 1-1. After Mitchell stole second base, he too was eventually brought home on a two-out single to center by Gordon that gave the Indians a 2-1 advantage. Both pitchers really settled in from there until they both seemed to lose steam in the sixth inning.

The Red Sox were able to put runners at first and second with two outs thanks to back-to-back singles by Bobby Doerr and Stan Spence. A walk to Birdie Tebbetts loaded the bases and then Feller hit Dobson to tie the game at two. A double by Dom DiMaggio then gave Boston a 4-2 lead and Feller was pulled from the game to another chorus of boos.

Fortunately for the Indians, the offense was able to pick up their pitcher and come right back for the second time in the game. After Doby and Clark both struck out to lead off the inning – Dobson’s fourth and fifth consecutive K’s – Mitchell was able to work a walk. Ken Keltner, who had been in a bit of a slump recently, broke out of it with a two-run home run to tie the game. The home run was Keltner’s 24th of the season.

The two team’s bullpens then locked in a battle for the rest of the game…a battle of who could simply be less bad. The Indians’ Ed Klieman was the first to get a shot, and he allowed the first four batters of the seventh inning to reach – eventually walking in Boston’s fifth run.

Earl Johnson relieved Dobson in the bottom of the seventh, and he gave Boston’s lead away as well when he allowed a two-run home run to Tribe catcher Jim Hegan. The blast was Hegan’s eighth and gave the Indians a 6-5 lead.

Boudreau then tried sidewinder Russ Christopher’s hand at holding their advantage, but he too struggled. After Klieman had allowed both DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky to reach to start the eighth, Christopher relieved and gave up a three-run homer to All-Star shortstop Vern Stephens to make the score 8-6 in favor of Boston.

The Tribe got a run back in the bottom of the eighth when Keltner singled home Mitchell, who had tripled. The Sox, however, got the run right back in the top of the ninth when Christopher allowed a leadoff double and then back-to-back singles to make Boston’s lead 9-7. It was DiMaggio who had plated the Red Sox’s final run.

When all seemed bleak heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Indians got a huge spark from their bench. Thurman Tucker pinch hit for Hegan and doubled and then Hal Peck hit for Christopher and walked. After an out, back-to-back singles by Clark and Mitchell scored the Indians eighth and ninth runs, tying the game and sending into extra innings. It was Indians reliever Steve Gromek and Boston’s regular starter Mel Parnell who battled in the extra frames and neither cracked until Parnell allowed the game winner in the eleventh.

Catcher Joe Tipton started the rally with a leadoff single and then Gromek sacrificed him to second. A Mitchell fly out and an intentional walk to Keltner followed, but then Gordon laced a clutch, two-out single to score Tipton and end the game. The walk-off RBI was Gordon’s 80th of the season…good enough for the team lead.

With the victory, the Indians move to 53-38, two games behind the front running Red Sox. The Tribe will have a chance to catch Boston and possibly move into a first place tie on Sunday (depending on what happens with the Philadelphia Athletics), finishing this important four-game set with a matinee doubleheader. Bob Lemon (13-9, 2.82, 1 save) will oppose Ellis Kinder (5-5, 3.95) in game one and Sam Zoldak (5-7, 4.07) will face Mickey Harris (3-7, 6.59) in the second contest.


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