SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
gives the Braves
a win over Ewell Blackwell
July 21, 1948 ... Warren
Spahn's steady, effective pitching carried the Boston Braves to a 6
to 2 triumph over the Cincinnati Reds on Shriner's night in
Cincinnati, as the Braves hung on to a commanding six-game lead in
the National League pennant race. The Braves lefty had a decided edge
over his opponent, Ewell Blackwell, in the first meeting between
these major-league aces from 1947. Blackwell was clubbed for nine
hits, including home runs by Earl Torgeson and Jeff Heath, and a key
single by Bob Elliott.
Spahn came through at a crucial moment. He
had not won a completely pitched game in almost a month. Today Brooklyn's
doubleheader win over the Cubs shaved the Braves lead to 5 1/2 games. Spahn
limited the Reds to seven hits, three of them of the scratch variety. Spahn's
eighth triumph of the year ended a two-game Braves losing streak. It kept him a
winning pitcher, as he lost seven games, while Blackwell, the 23 game winner of
the year ago, suffered his seventh setback again six victories.
The Braves went out in front in the opening inning, as Torgeson knocked out
the first pitch to him, over the fence in right-center field for his eighth home
run of the year. It was the only hit off Blackwell in the first five innings, as
he looked exceptionally fast with six strikeouts through that stretch.
It was Spahn who started Blackwell on his way out in the sixth. He started
with a single and then Alvin Dark singled back through the box. Spahn made it to
third and Dark sprinted into second as the Reds tried to head off the Braves
pitcher at third. Not wishing to take any chances, Earl Torgeson was walked in
hope of getting Elliott to hit into the double-play. But Bob did not oblige and
lashed a three and two pitch into left field to but the Braves ahead 3 to 0.
Cincinnati scored in their half of the sixth, as three batter singled in
succession and then Warren turned on the juice. Blackwell called it a night in
the eighth when Elliott opened with a base hit and then Heath lined a vicious
drive over the fence for his 11th homer of the year. When Blackwell passed Mike
McCormick, he was sent to the showers in favor of Kent Peterson, who pitched
hitless, runless ball over the last two innings.
Blackwell has yielded ten home runs this season, and six had been hit by the
Braves. He then Elliott have two apiece while Torgeson and Salkeld have knocked
out one each. Tonight, Heath hit his third home run in the last five games.
The last time Spahn pitched a complete-game and won it, was on June 25th
against the Pirates. Tonight's win was the sixth in eight games for the Braves
on the road trip.