1954 Cleveland Indians: Winning streak ends, then Tribe dominates Detroit

After going a perfect 6-0 the week prior, the Indians were riding high on an eleven game winning streak. A short trip to Chicago was on tap, and then back home to face the Tigers before another lengthy road jaunt.

The Tribe finished the previous week unbeaten by beating the Red Sox in two games, and taking all four games from the Orioles, only allowing 8 runs. They took a short ride to Chicago on an eleven-game winning streak, then had a quick turnaround back to Cleveland to face the Tigers over the weekend.

May 25-26, 1954

May 25: Indians 2, White Sox 4

May 26: Indians 4, White Sox 5

In the opener, Bob Lemon faced longtime White Sox nemesis Billy Pierce. The Indians struck first, with a George Strickland RBI single in the second. The first White Sox run was all on Lemon himself as his own error and three walks tied the game in the third. Dave Philley quickly got the lead back, leading off the fourth with a solo shot. Ferris fain and Sherm Lollar each had an RBI single in the fifth to secure the lead, but Lemon left the bases loaded. Minnie Minoso's sacrifice fly in the sixth provided some insurance for Pierce. Pierce walked the bases loaded in the eighth, but Virgil Trucks got the last out and pitched the ninth for his first save of the year. And the streak had ended.

In game two, Fain hit a pair of RBI singles in the first and third to get a quick 2-0 lead against Mike Garcia. A pair of doubles by Bobby Avila and Al Rosen sliced the lead in half, with Rosen scoring on a subsequent Fain error in the fourth. Some more small ball by the Sox in the bottom half netted another run and chased Garcia in favor of Ray Narleski. The Sox added another in the fifth on a walk, single and Narleski error. Rosen went back to work on starter Bob Keegan in the sixth, hitting a solo shot. In the ninth, after Strickland hit a one out single, pinch hitter Joe Ginsberg tripled him to tie the game once again. But after an intentional walk by Sandy Consuegra to Hank Majeski, he got Al Smith to hit into a double play. Art Houtteman loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half. But Hal Newhouser could only get one out before a Cass Michaels single ended the contest.

May 28-30, 1954

May 28: Tigers 0, Indians 3

May 29: Tigers 0, Indians 12

May 30: Tigers 1, Indians 3

With the winning streak done and the White Sox back within a half game, the Tribe went home to take out their frustration on fourth place Detroit. A second day off allowed some cooling off. Early Wynn came out firing on all cylinders, dueling former Tribesman Steve Gromek. The Tigers got the first baserunners of the game in the top of the third on a Frank House double and Gromek walk. But Wynn would only allow a walk to Bill Tuttle in the fifth (who was erased on a double play) and a single by House in the eighth. The Tribe hitters weren't having much success against Gromek either. Through six innings they had only gotten three singles. But Larry Doby led off with another single in the seventh and scored when Rosen cranked his thirteenth homer. Jim Hegan added another run that inning to make it 3-0 and Wynn had his shutout.

Saturday's game was another shutout for the Tribe, this time by Bob Lemon, but was not even close to being a tense match. A two run homer by Doby in the first staked Lemon to a quick 2-0 lead. But the Tiger defense failed them miserably in the second as the Indians scored six runs on just three hits, a walk and three miscues by Detroit. Rudy Regalado added a solo homer in the seventh and three more runs in the eight concluded the scoring. Lemon scattered six hits and only walked one.

The series finale had Garcia take on Dick Marlowe. A Philley sacrifice fly in the fourth scored Avila after his leadoff double. A Frank Bolling double and Rosen error in the sixth tied the score at one. Philley hit his second sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth, this time with the bases loaded, scoring Smith this time. An RBI groundout by Garcia extended the lead to 3-1 in the seventh. Garcia finished off the Tigers in short order, issuing his only free pass in the ninth and scattering four hits.

For the series, the Indians outscored the Tigers 18-1, with the one run being unearned.

Transactions/Moves

That triple by Ginsberg would be his last at bat in a Cleveland uniform. He was sent down to Indianapolis and eventually sold to the Kansas City Athletics in 1955. I believe Wally Westlake was activated after his demotion.

Summary

The winning streak was ended by the second place White Sox, but the sweep of the Tigers kept the Indians in first.

Up next, the hated White Sox visit for a Memorial Day doubleheader on Monday, before another two week road trip begins. First stops on the trip would be Yankee Stadium, and Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

27

12

692

-

199

137

.664

Chicago White Sox

27

14

659

1.0

201

137

.669

New York Yankees

24

16

600

3.5

185

149

.598

Detroit Tigers

19

16

543

6.0

147

143

.513

Washington Senators

16

22

421

10.5

166

171

.486

Boston Red Sox

11

21

344

12.5

119

151

.393

Philadelphia Athletics

14

25

359

13.0

134

197

.331

Baltimore Orioles

13

25

342

13.5

107

173

.293

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