SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
Johnny VanderMeer pitches
a courageous game
August 2, 1948 ... With
a chance to gain on the second-place Giants, the Braves suffered a 3
to 1 reverse when Cincinnati's Johnny VanderMeer stifled them with
brilliant pitching in the clutch, stranding 12 Boston runners. The
Braves hit him for eight hits and he gave them seven passes, yet they
scored only once. Two times doubleplays saved VanderMeer's scalp.
Then, with defeat imminent, he fired the ball past Braves hitters.
A couple of fluky doubles gave the Reds a one run advantage in the second
inning. They made it 2 to 0 off Vern Bickford, who had his five-game winning
streak shattered, on a double by Danny Litwhiler and a single from Ted
Kluszewski in the sixth.
A break came in the seventh when it looked like VanderMeer could be had. He
opened by passing Sibbi Sisti, who was pinch hitting for Bickford. The threat
ended when Tommy Holmes hit one back to him on the mound, and he started a swift
doubleplay. But the Braves kept at him as Al Dark doubled down the left-field
line and Earl Torgeson drew another pass. Then Bob Elliott hit a vicious line
drive that struck VanderMeer on the right knee. The ball bounced across the
third-base foul line to the Braves dugout. Dark easily scored and Torgeson took
third with Bob Elliott going to second on the freak two base hit. With first
base open, the Reds elected to pitch to Jim Russell. He rolled out to Vern
Stallcup and ended the threat.
The Reds, aided by an error by Clyde Shoun, picked up a third run in the
eighth. VanderMeer was still shaky as he came out to pitch in the Braves half of
the inning. Mike McCormick led off with his third hit of the night and Phil Masi
rolled one into right field, that sent him over to third. With the tying runs on
base, the courageous southpaw set down the next six Braves batters in
succession, to win his eighth game of the season.
The Reds victory was their fifth in 14 games against the Braves and ended
their six-game losing streak. Although the Braves didn't lose any ground to the
Giants or Dodgers, they lost a full game to the Cardinals. Because of their
crippled outfield condition, the Braves again used pitcher Al Lyons in right
field. He has now pinch-hit and played the outfield in two straight games.