September 11, 1948
In just his first full season as a starting pitcher, Bob Lemon has asserted himself as the ace of the Indians staff several times, but this afternoon may have been the culmination of his work to transform from a utility player to a star pitcher.
Lemon won his 20th game of the season after a rocky start with his control in the game. The Indians plated three early runs and had a six-run outburst to give the Tribe a 9-1 victory and sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader with the St. Louis Browns. It is the Indians’ sixth straight victory. Cleveland battered southpaw Al Gerheauser of St. Louis in his first big league appearance since June. The lefty was just recalled from Toledo yesterday.
Dale Mitchell started the bottom of the first with an infield single, just as he did in the first game today. Allie Clark singled to left field and Lou Boudreau bunted the two runners to scoring position. After Joe Gordon was walked, Ken Keltner singled to left field, bringing home Mitchell and moving Gordon and Clark to scoring position.
After Thurman Tucker popped out to third baseman Bob Dillinger in foul ground, Wally Judnich slapped a single to left field allowing both Gordon and Clark to score and stake the Indians to an early 3-0 lead.
Lemon was shaky at the outset of the game, allowing three hits and two walks in the first four innings. Twice the Browns stranded runners in scoring position in the first four frames.
In the fifth inning St. Louis logged their only run of the game when Eddie Pellagrini and Gerheauser each singled to start the inning. Dillinger grounded into a fielder’s choice at second base to put runners on the corners before Paul Lehner hit a fly ball to right field deep enough to score Pellagrini and cut the Tribe’s lead to 3-1.
Gerheauser, a former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, kept the Indians offense quiet after the first. He allowed just three more hits until the seventh inning when an error by Pellagrini on Mitchell’s grounder was the spark to ignite a six-run inning. After Mitchell started the inning – just like in the first – Clark singled, Boudreau sacrificed the two runners to scoring position and Gordon walked to load the bases.
This time Keltner singled to left field, bringing Clark and Mitchell around to score. The three runs driven in by Keltner give him 101 for the season. It is the first time since his rookie season in 1938 that he has driven in more than 100 runs in a campaign.
Tucker doubled to center field, chasing home Keltner and Gordon and quickly it was 7-1 Indians. That ended the day for Gerheauser and Browns’ manager Zack Taylor called upon Bill Kennedy to finish the inning and game. He did little to slow down his former mates, hitting Judnich with a pitch as the first batter he faced. Judnich and Tucker pulled off a double steal to get into scoring position and both scored when Hegan doubled to left field, making it 9-1. Hegan’s 19th double of the season capped the scoring for the afternoon. He caught every out of today’s doubleheader.
With the game in hand, Boudreau did substitute several starters from the lineup with another doubleheader tomorrow. Highly touted prospect Al Rosen made his debut in the eighth inning, striking out against Kennedy. Ray Boone also played shortstop for Boudreau the last two innings as a preview of the future left side of the Indians’ infield.
Lemon (20-11) went the distance for his 20th win, allowing just a run on six hits and four walks. His four strikeouts give him 133 on the season and passes teammate Bob Feller for the league lead. It was his 20th complete game to go with his 20 wins.
Gerheauser (0-2) suffered the loss, giving up eight runs on ten hits and three walks. Only seven of his eight runs were earned and the left-hander did strike out two in his return to the big leagues.
In addition to Keltner’s two hits and three runs batted in, Tucker, Judnich and Hegan each drove in a pair and Clark had three hits and scored two runs. The Indians rapped out 12 hits in the game.
The win again does not gain them any ground in the American League standings. Boston swept their doubleheader at home with Philadelphia, leaving the Tribe stuck three and a half games in back of first place. New York won their single game at Washington, 6-3, but the Tribe climbed to within a half game of the Bronx Bombers in the standings.
Tomorrow the Indians and Browns will play two more games at Municipal Stadium. Satchel Paige (6-1, 2.29) will take on former Yankee right-hander Karl Drews (4-4, 5.31) in the first game. Feller (15-14, 3.98) is slated to start the second game against Blackie Schwamb (1-1, 9.62).