& WARREN SPAHN
SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
The Braves battle the Dodgers for first place
August 21, 1948 ... The
Braves got knocked out of first place when the Dodgers took the
opening game of the doubleheader by an 8 to 7 score. But in slightly
more than two hours, Warren Spahn had slipped his teammates back into
their thin one-game lead with a four hitter and a 2 to 1 victory at
But Johnny Sain was driven from the box in the very
first inning, while the rampaging Dodgers scored four runs off him and another
one off Red Barrett.
Sain just didn't have any semblance of control and had to throw pitches down
the middle. He may have been more confident except for the fact that the Braves
had wasted a big chance in the first inning, when they left the bases loaded. It
didn't take the Dodgers long to take advantage in their half of the first. Two
walks and two singles accounted for two runs. Then Gil Hodges doubled a vicious
line drive to left and that was it for Sain. Red Barrett came in and Joe Hatton
dumped a single to left for another run. Jackie Robinson, who was only 1 for 37
against Barrett, gave Brooklyn a 6 to 0 lead in the second inning with a home
run into the left-field stands.
The Dodgers let the Braves back in the game in the fourth, when Elliott
walked and scored on Frank McCormick's double to left. After Conaster was thrown
out and Masi walked, Sisti hit what should've been a doubleplay down a Hodges,
but Gil threw the ball into left-field. McCormick waltzed home on the play, and
Tommy Holmes, who hadn't knocked in a run in 23 games, snapped out of it with a
single through the box for two more runs, making the score 6 to 4.
Al Lyons held the Dodgers to two hits in four innings and the Braves got
another run for him in the fifth when Jeff Heath, batted for Frank McCormick and
drove a long home run over the right-field wall. The Dodgers matched that,
however, in their half of the inning, to make the score 7 to 5.
Lyons walked Marv Rackley to open the sixth and it would have been harmless
only but for a passed ball by Masi. Robinson moved him along with an infield out
and Gene Hermanski scored him, when his hard ground ball hit the first-base bag.
Torgeson's only play at that point was just to step on the base.
The Braves didn't give up, and with Brooklyn up 8 to 5, Masi doubled home
Conaster who had walked in the seventh. Holmes tripled, with one out in the
eighth to put the Braves within one, but Al Dark hit a ground ball down to Pee
Wee Reese, who held Holmes at third. Then Torgeson stranded him with a fly ball
out to Rackley.
Down 8-7, the Braves kept plugging away and had a couple of runners on base
in the last inning, when Billy Southworth had to call on Bobby Sturgeon, a weak
hitter at best, who could only manage a foul pop up to Hodges and end the game.
Preacher Roe started the second game for the Dodgers and had been coasting
along nicely until the fifth inning when Frank McCormick suddenly started his
downfall with a double off the wall in left field. Clint Conaster matched that
with a drive by Billy Cox a third. After Phil Masi popped out, Sibbi Sisti hit
what proved to be the game-winner with a single down the left-field line,
putting the Braves ahead by two.
Spahn however, pitched one of his best games of the season. He had a shutout
until the ninth-inning and allowed only but one man to reach second base,
leading 2 to 0. But then, with a tremendous swing, Bruce Edwards rapped one of
Spahn's pitches into the centerfield seats. Carl Furillo slammed one down the
third that Bobby Elliott had a make a fine stop of and throw him out. Tommy
Holmes ended the game by making a fine catch on a fly ball hit by Gil Hodges.
Atop Ebbets Field are the banners arranged in the standings of the National
League. It was a wild scene when the Braves banner was switched around for the
one of the Dodgers after the first game. The Braves had been wearing the crown
since June 13th, 69 days altogether.