1954 Cleveland Indians (May 3-May 9): Pitching the distance (again and again)

A perfect week prior helped make this lengthy road trip much more bearable. Next on the docket, a pair of series in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

The Tribe had gone 5-0 the previous week, with wins over the Red Sox, Yankees, and Senators. This week brought the conclusion of the series in Washington, followed by a visit to Philadelphia, and then the end of the three-week road trip in Baltimore.

May 3, 1954 (@ Washington)

May 3: Indians and Senators rained out

May 4-6, 1954 (@ Philadelphia)

May 4: Athletics 3, Indians 2

May 5: Indians 7, Athletics 2

May 6: Indians 3, Athletics 2

In the opener, Mike Garcia faced Bob Trice. Larry Doby led off the third with a triple and scored on a Dave Philley grounder. Then Al Rosen hit a solo shot in the sixth to put the Tribe up 2-0, but three singles and a Rosen error in the bottom half tied up the game. In the eighth, the Athletics got the lead run on a single, walk, and another single. In the ninth, manager Al Lopez emptied the bench, using three pinch hitters and a pinch runner. But to no avail, as the leadoff walk did not move off of first and the winning streak was over.

The Indians tied the series the next day as Bob Lemon scattered nine hits and five walks in yet another complete game. The offense only had eight hits and one free pass, but scored twice in the first and once each in the second and third innings to build a 4-0 lead. But the game was put out of reach in the sixth when Philley cranked a three run homer.

The rubber match of the series had Early Wynn facing Arnie Portocarrero. A leadoff double by Bobby Avila led to some small ball and a sacrifice fly by Rosen to get a quick 1-0 lead. Wally Westlake singled home another in the fifth, but the A's would get one back on a Vic Power single. Al Smith homered in the eighth for an insurance run, which proved beneficial as Power hit a homer of his own in the bottom half. Wynn set the side down in order in the ninth to finish off the Tribe's third straight complete game and the series win.

May 8-9, 1954 (@ Baltimore)

May 8: Indians 5, Orioles 3

May 9: Orioles 2, Indians 1 (10 innings)

After an off day, the Indians returned to Baltimore for their second visit in the young season. Garcia was back on the rubber against Duane Pillette. The only baserunner in the first three innings was a Dick Kryhoski double in the first. But the Indians exploded for five runs in the fourth. An Avila single and then after two outs, three more singles by Rosen, Doby and Philley and a walk to George Strickland loaded the bases. Backup catcher, Hal Naragon, who was making a rare start, doubled to clear the bases. Garcia faltered in the sixth, giving up three, with two of them on a Sam Mele homer. Ray Narleski finished off the inning. It was a good thing the Tribe scored those five runs, because the rest of the game they netted just two more baserunners. Hal Newhouser and Wynn pitched the ninth to get the Indians their third straight win.

The Indian offense was stifled again on Sunday as they managed just four hits and a walk against Bob Turley. Art Houtteman was just as good as Turley until the sixth when a pair of singles and a walk led to the first run of the game. Smith got the run back in the seventh on a single, two passed balls and Rosen's sixth sacrifice fly of the year. Both starters pitched the tenth. A leadoff error by Strickland allowed the Orioles to play small ball. A bunt by Turley and a groundout, put the winning run at third. With two outs, Gil Coan hit the walkoff single.

Transactions/Moves

The bullpen was used just once this week, on Saturday. The bench was also used very sparingly. In the first game there were the three pinch hitters and a pinch runner. The only other bench move was a late inning Jim Hegan defensive replacement on Saturday. This week would also mark the end of Luke Easter's career. Shortly after that pinch hit appearance, he was released, with Bob Hooper joining the bullpen.

Summary

A winning record for the week left the Indians just one game out of first. They finished the three-week road trip with an impressive 10-5 record, along with a few rainouts that would be made up as doubleheaders later in the season.

Next week: the hated Yankees, Senators and Athletics visit Cleveland Stadium for the first time this season.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Detroit Tigers

11

5

688

-

72

51

653

Chicago White Sox

14

9

609

0.5

105

74

655

Cleveland Indians

12

8

600

1.0

91

76

582

New York Yankees

11

9

550

2.0

79

66

582

Philadelphia Athletics

9

11

450

4.0

56

83

327

Boston Red Sox

5

9

357

5.0

44

60

362

Washington Senators

7

12

368

5.5

73

80

458

Baltimore Orioles

6

12

333

6.0

37

67

252

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