1954 Indians flashback: Tribe dominate Red Sox, extend AL lead

Deadlocked with the White Sox, and the Yankees hot on their heels, the Indians looked to successfully complete the road trip in DC and Boston.

After going 2-3 against the White Sox and Yankees the previous week, the Indians finished the week on a high note by sweeping the Athletics in Philadelphia. This week the road trip continued with stops in Washington and Boston. Due to rainouts earlier in the year, the Boston series would end up being five games (with the fifth game on Monday).

June 8-10, 1954

June 8: Indians 2, Senators 5

June 9: Indians 1, Senators 0

June 10: Indians 4, Senators 8

Early Wynn got the nod in the series opener, facing Mickey McDermott. The Senators plated two in the first on a Pete Runnels triple, a Mickey Vernon double and Jim Busby single. McDermott opened the game being setting down the first twelve Tribe hitters. Rudy Regalado coaxed a leadoff walk but was stranded. Al Smith got the first hit in the sixth but also was stranded. A three run shot by Eddie Yost in the sixth pushed the lead to 5-0. A pair of RBI groundouts by Regalado and Dave Philley in the ninth was all the Indians could muster. McDermott only allowed two hits and four free passes in his complete game.

The fans in Washington were treated to another pitching duel in the second game as Mike Garcia took on Bob Porterfield. The only baserunner in the first three innings was a Vernon walk. A walk by Runnels in the fourth was erased on a strikeout double play. Vic Wertz was the first Tribe player to reach base in the fifth via a walk. Busby got the first hit for either team in the bottom of the fifth, but he too was erased in a double play. The Indians broke up the no-hitter in the seventh when Wertz singled with one out. Philley followed with a single of his own and took second on the throw when Wertz stretched to third. An error by Yost allowed Wertz to score the only run of the game. The Senators loaded the bases on three singles in the seventh but left them loaded. Porterfield only allowed four hits and two walks all day. Garcia finished with five hits and three walks in his shutout.

The rubber game offered Bob Lemon against Dean Stone. The Indians scored first, with Lemon driving in Regalado with a flyball in the second. The lead was short lived as the Senators put up a five spot in the third. Three walks by Lemon, three singles and a George Strickland error were the culprits. Lemon didn't get out of the sixth as he was chased after a walk and three more singles. Ray Narleski got the final out, but the score had ballooned to 8-1. The Tribe got it to within four runs in the eighth on an RBI double by Smith and a two run shot by Larry Doby. But Stone finished the Indians in order in ninth on three fly balls to left, center and right in order. So the Senators got their first two wins of the season against the Indians and the series victory.

June 11-13, 1954

June 11: Indians 6, Red Sox 2

June 12: Indians 4, Red Sox 3

June 13 (game 1): Indians 4, Red Sox 1

June 13 (game 2): Indians 8, Red Sox 1

The Indians had won the first three games of the year against Boston, but a few games had been postponed. And after allowing the Senators to notch their first wins, they headed to Fenway determined to keep the Sox winless. A three run shot by Doby and an RBI single by Wally Westlake off Willard Nixon got the Indians off to a great start. The Red Sox loaded the bases in the third on three singles with no one out against Art Houtteman, but the next three Sox flew out and only one run scored. Strickland got that run right back the next inning with a solo home run. Another home run by Westlake in the eighth made it 6-1 Tribe. A Sam Dente triple in the ninth chased Nixon, but Bill Werle worked around that. A pair of doubles by Ted Lepcio and Milt Bolling in the ninth finished off the scoring, but Houtteman finished his complete game by scattering nine hits.

Bob Feller should have gotten out of the first in game two unscathed, but a Dente error netted the Sox a run. Philley tied it in the second with a single after Wertz was picked off but then safe on an error by Harry Agannis. Jackie Jensen got the lead right back in the third on his own RBI single and he tacked one more on in the fifth on a sacrifice fly. Tom Brewer finally tired in the seventh as manager Al Lopez emptied his bench with two pinch hitters (Regalado and Dale Mitchell) and two pinch runners (Dave Pope and Bill Glynn). Smith scored Jim Hegan with a single and Doby knocked in a pair with a single as well, making it 4-3 Tribe. Don Mossi took over for Feller in the seventh and retired all nine batters he faced.

Wynn got his second start of the week and was markedly improved over the previous game. The Red Sox did score in the first after a pair of singles by Jim Piersall and Billy Goodman and a Regalado error. Westlake homered in the second and three singles in the fourth by Wertz, Philley and Westlake got the Indians their first lead, 2-1. Regalado and Doby tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh on a single and groundout respectively. Wynn was by no means dominant, but finished the game without any more damage, scattering eight hits, three walks and seven strikeouts.

In the nightcap of the Sunday doubleheader, Mike Garcia faced Tex Clevenger. Westlake and Hank Majeski both homered in the second to get a quick 2-0 lead. The Red Sox got one back in the third on an Agannis fly ball. Strickland returned that favor in the fourth and Regalado added another with a single, making it 4-1. Regalado plated two more in the seventh while Doby and Wertz each singled in one themselves and Indians pen now had seven run lead with three ups left for the Red Sox. Bob Hooper had a perfect seventh, worked around a single and walk with two out in the eighth and a one single in the ninth. The Tribe had now won four straight and would go for the rare five game sweep in the Monday makeup game.

Transactions/Moves

With Rosen still out, Lopez inserted newly acquired Wertz at first, moving Glynn back to the bench. Bobby Avila was also hobbled and did not play. Dente got six of the seven starts at second with Majeski getting the other one. Lopez also decided to get Westlake back in the lineup and put him in left. This moved Smith to third base for a pair of games and then to the bench for the next week.

Summary

This week had another slow start, but taking all four games in Fenway helped the Tribe finish at 5-2 and gain a game and a half on Chicago. With Detroit stumbling to below .500, the American League had already become just a three-team race between the Indians, White Sox and Yankees.

Up next, they try to finish off the five-game sweep in Boston, then try to exact revenge on the Senators in Cleveland, before the Red Sox pay a visit.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

37

17

685

-

263

190

645

Chicago White Sox

36

19

655

1.5

274

183

677

New York Yankees

35

22

614

3.5

255

209

590

Detroit Tigers

25

29

463

12.0

227

223

508

Washington Senators

23

31

426

14.0

228

239

478

Baltimore Orioles

22

34

393

16.0

196

246

398

Philadelphia Athletics

21

34

382

16.5

209

305

334

Boston Red Sox

19

32

373

16.5

207

264

391

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