August 27, 1948
With a Friday doubleheader in New York to make up a previous rain out, it looked like the Indians had a chance to tie the Boston Red Sox for first place this afternoon with a free game to make ground.
Boston won their game this afternoon against the Chicago White Sox, keeping a half game ahead when the Indians won the first game in the Bronx, 8-1, but the BoSox from Beantown would be defenseless as they sit idle tonight to another Indians’ win. However, sometimes the best defense is none at all. The Indians fell behind early and never recovered, losing to the Yankees 7-2 in the second game of the twin bill.
Instead of gaining a half game in the standings, the Tribe drops back a half game and now trail by one full game. The Yankees are now just a half game behind the Indians for second place and a game and a half out of first.
Steve Gromek allowed an unearned run in the second inning and could not record an out in the fourth as the Yankees stacked up enough runs to end this game quickly. Meanwhile, the Indians had little answer for their former mate, Chieftain Allie Reynolds. While the Indians mustered eleven hits, they could not string together enough to mount a big rally.
The Yankees benefited from an unearned run in the bottom of the second inning when Phil Rizzuto reached base via an error on Ken Keltner. Rookie catcher Ralph Houk came to the plate and shot a double down the left field line that allowed Rizzuto to scoot home from first base, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Gromek would have no one to blame but himself in the fourth inning as the Yankees struck fast and furious. Joe DiMaggio started the scoring with a lead off home run to left center field. His 29th blast of the season put New York up 2-0. After back-to-back singles to center field by Yogi Berra and Johnny Lindell, Indians manager Lou Boudreau made the move to the bullpen for Ed Klieman.
Rizzuto greeted Klieman to the game with a double to left field that scored Berra and moved Lindell to third base. During Houk’s at bat, Klieman uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Lindell to score and give the Yankees a 4-0 lead. The normally reliable Klieman settled down, but the damage was already done.
Gromek (7-3) did not record an out in the fourth inning, allowing four runs – three earned – on five hits, including the home run to DiMaggio.
After a clean fifth inning from Klieman, Boudreau brought on Russ Christopher, who continued to struggle for the Tribe. After recording an out, Lindell walked and Rizzuto singled to right field. Houk singled to left field to score Lindell and move Rizzuto to third base. After Reynolds hit a chopper to second base that the Indians could not turn two on, Rizzuto scored and the Yankees had a commanding 6-0 lead.
Cleveland mustered a little offense in the seventh when Boudreau and Keltner singled to start the inning. After Reynolds retired the next two hitters, Eddie Robinson singled to center field to bring Boudreau around from second base and cut the lead to 6-1. Joe Tipton grounded to shortstop to end the rally, however.
Christopher’s struggles continued in the bottom of the seventh when he gave the run right back to New York. Doubles by Tommy Henrich and Berra made it 7-1 in favor of New York. In two innings of work Christopher allowed four hits and three runs. He struggled this week in Boston, playing a part in five critical runs scoring in two losses. Satchel Paige pitched a perfect eighth inning.
Cleveland added a pointless run to the scoreboard off Reynolds with two out in the ninth inning. Tipton singled to center field and Bob Lemon hit a pinch-hit double to right field to make the score 7-2. Tipton scored standing with no throw. The Yankees got Dale Mitchell to line out to Rizzuto to end the game.
Rizzuto and Houk, the Yankees’ seventh and eighth hitters, were the offensive stars of the game. Each had two hits, including a double, in the New York eleven-hit outburst. Rizzuto scored twice and drove in a run, while Houk had two runs batted in.
Reynolds (14-6) went the distance, scattering eleven hits and allowing just two runs while not walking an Indian and striking out six. It was his fourth victory of the season against just one defeat when opposing his former team.
In splitting the doubleheader the Indians are an even 10-10 against the Yankees this season, including 5-5 at Yankee Stadium. They have two games remaining against one another, one at each stadium. Regardless of where they play, the two teams can draw major attendance. Today’s 61,729 brought the season total to 825,331 fans to see the two teams tangle in their 20 matchups for an average of 41,206 per contest. The attendance is nearly as even as it can get with 412,337 attending ten games at Municipal Stadium while 412,494 have bought tickets in the Bronx.
Tomorrow the Indians and Yankees will battle for the right to second place in their final game of the year at Yankee Stadium. With a half game between the two, Saturday’s winner will take residency of the second spot of the American League. Lefty Sam Zoldak (7-8, 3.88) will take the mound for the Indians while the Yankees will counter with their own southpaw, Eddie Lopat (12-8, 3.53).