RALPH KINER &
SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
wins again for his 21st
September 17, 1948 ... Johnny
Sain became baseball's leading game winner as he prepared an obituary
for the Pittsburgh Pirates, by pitching a seven hit, 6 to 2, victory
over the Braves closest pursuers at Braves Field. It was his
twenty-first win of the season and it dumped the Pirates 5 1/2 games
behind the Braves.
The big right-hander, who spun a string of
curves all afternoon, was threatened only in the seventh inning. Despite the
misjudgment by Clint Conaster of a line drive in that inning, he settled down to
complete his sixty-second win over the past three years.
The Braves sent Pirates starter Vic Lombardi to the showers in the sixth
inning. His replacement, Kirby Higbe, couldn't hold the Braves within reach
either. Lombardi was reached for a run in the second inning when Bob Elliott
topped a ball down the third-base line for a base hit and advanced on Frank
McCormick's grounder to Danny Murtaugh at second base. Conaster rapped a sharp
liner over Stan Rojek's head at short, flicking off his fingertips into left
field. Elliott crossed the plate far ahead of the throw by Ralph Kiner.
Alvin Dark started the sixth for the Braves with a single to left and raced
to second when Ralph Kiner kicked the ball away. Then Mike McCormick smashed a
long drive off the left-field wall for a double. Dark, who would been a close to
second, anticipating a possible catch, then had to race home with Rojek's throw
missing its mark and rolling to the backstop. McCormick ended up on third and
Frank McCormick scored Mike on a fly ball to Kiner to give Sain a 3 to 0 lead.
The Pirates picked up two runs in the seventh when Eddie Bockman hit a pop
fly down the right-field line that fell fair. Then Conaster made the mistake on
Eddie Fitzgerald's line drive to center. Fitzgerald made it to second and
Bockman scored to cut the lead to one run.
But in the bottom of the inning, Higbe passed Phil Masi and Sibby Sisti
dropped a bunt down the third-base line. Higbe fumbled the ball and then fired
wildly to first base. The errant throw hit Sisti on the shoulder and allowed
Masi to scoot into third base. Then Sain grounded one to Bockman's left and he
bobbled the ball, allowing Masi to score.
The Braves completed the scoring in the eighth when Mike McCormick hit a fly
ball down the right-field line that Dixie Walker overran. Mike ended up on
third-base before Hopp finally retrieved the ball in foul territory. After Bob
Elliott got a base on balls, Earl Torgeson batted for Frank McCormick and forced
Mike at the plate. But Jeff Heath singled to center as a pinch-hitter for
Conaster, and scored Elliott, sending Torgy the third, who scored on a sacrifice
fly by Masi, making the Braves run total sit at six.