September 16, 1948
Gene Bearden settled in after a rough beginning to his outing Thursday night and went the distance as the Indians offense erupted for a five-run first on the way to a much needed win for Cleveland over the Washington Senators, 6-3.
The Senators jumped out to an early 2-0 lead off of Bearden in the first. The first batter of the game, Eddie Yost, doubled down the left field line and scored on a single to right by Al Kozar. On the play, Yost had stopped at third, but advanced on an error at the plate as the throw from Larry Doby bounced in front of Jim Hegan and rolled all the way to the stands. A single to right by Bud Stewart one out later scored Kozar with the inning’s second run. With two outs, the Nats ran themselves out of the inning as Stewart was caught stealing by Hegan.
With Washington’s Sid Hudson on the mound, the Indians struck right back in the bottom of the frame. Dale Mitchell singled to left and moved to second on a walk by Thurman Tucker. Lou Boudreau fouled out to the first baseman Mickey Vernon before Joe Gordon was hit by a pitch in the back to load the bases. Hudson became his own worst enemy, putting a third free runner on base and forcing in Mitchell with the bases loaded walk to Ken Keltner, making it a 2-1 lead.
One clout later on the 2-1 offering from Hudson, the bases were emptied via grand slam from the Indians’ Doby. His 12th home run of the year, a blast of 400 feet to right center over the Indians bullpen, gave Cleveland a 5-2 lead, one that they would never look back from. Doby had been absent from the lineup for the last week while dealing with an injury.
The grand slam gives the Indians four different players (Doby, Boudreau, Keltner, Hegan) who have cleared the bases with a four-run swing.
The Senators cut into the lead slightly in the third, when Carden Gillenwater cleared the fences with a two-out solo home run to left, making it a 5-3 game.
The Indians tacked on one final run in the bottom of the sixth with two outs already in the books. Hegan and Bearden connected on singles before Mitchell pushed Hegan in with a third straight single, giving Cleveland the 6-3 advantage.
Bearden (15-7) limited the damage throughout the game after the rough first inning. He went the distance, allowing three runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out three. He added a 2-for-4 at the plate. He allowed just four hits in the final eight innings.
Hudson (4-16) pitched six innings before being lifted for pinch-hitter Early Wynn in the top of the seventh. He allowed six runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out two. Reliever Dick Welteroth pitched two scoreless innings, allowing a pair of hits and a free pass.
The Indians improved to 85-55 with the victory, ending a brief two-game losing skid. They remain locked in third place in the American League, two and a half games behind Boston and one and a half games behind New York. The game took one hour and 55 minutes to complete.
The Nats have now lost 16 straight games.
Photo: Arizona Daily Star