SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
Sain and Bickford put the Tribe at the door step
September 21, 1948 ... Following
the Braves double victory over the Cardinals at Braves Field, one
half of the Boston subway series came close to it being a reality, as
the Braves now lead the 2nd place Dodgers by 7 1/2 games. Should the
Braves win tomorrow and the Dodgers lose, or if the Braves win two
games, the National League pennant will fly over Braves Field.
course Johnny Sain played an integral part once more today, in winning his 22nd
game of the season. The big right-hander pitched his sixth complete game and got
his sixth win in 21 days in the 11 to 3 opener. Vern Bickford blinded the
Cardinals in the nightcap pitching a 4 to 0 shutout.
The beauty of Bickford's pitching was his complete mastery of the league's
greatest slugger, Stan Musial. Four times Musial went to the plate and only once
did he get it out of the infield, going hitless. Musial tried to hit Bickford's
change of pace pitches futilely.
The Cardinals bothered Bickford in the first inning when they loaded the
bases with two outs. But Vern got out of the jam by striking out Don Lang. Again
in the second inning, the Cardinals again load the bases with one out. Bickford
struck out Marty Marion and forced Musial to hit an easy pop up to Clint
Conaster in short center field. After that, until the ninth-inning, he allowed
only one man to reach first base on a walk in the third inning.
The Braves had sent Bickford to the mound with a 3 to 0 lead in the first
inning, driving Howie Pollet from the box. Tommy Holmes reached on an error by
shortstop Marty Marion. Alvin Dark doubled to right and sent him to third-base,
then Mike McCormick singled to right to knock in two runs. Bob Elliott came up
and walked and Frank McCormick advanced them with a bunt. The strategy was
necessary because Pollet then walked Phil Masi, forcing in another run. Murry
Dickson was rushed in and struck out Sibbi Sisti and got Bickford on a ground
Dickson then matched Bickford until the eighth-inning. Then Jeff Heath walked
and rolled over to third-base on Masi' hit-and-run single to right . Ray Sanders
came up to bat for Sisti and flied out to Musial deep enough to score Heath with
the fourth Braves run.
In the opener, Sain had the first inning jitters, as the Cardinals reached
him for three singles, a double and two runs. The Braves got one of the runs
back in their half of the inning with consecutive singles by Dark, Torgeson and
Elliott. But they teed off on George Munger and then Ted Wilks for five hits and
four runs, to put the Braves up 5 to 2.
Sain held the lead until the sixth inning when Ron Northey blasted his tenth
home run of the year into the Cardinals bullpen. But ten Braves batters went to
bat in the bottom half of the inning and scored five runs on two hits. Masi
started off with a walk and Sisti sacrificed him along. Sain got his second
single of the day and scored Masi. Dark then doubled to score Sain. Frank
McCormick came up and batted for Torgy against the left-hander Ken Johnson and
flied deep enough to left field to score another run. Then Elliott was passed
intentionally and Conaster batted for Heath, drawing a walk. Dark and Elliott
scored when Mike McCormick rolled a grounder through Lang at third-base, putting
them up 10 to 3. One more run was added in the eighth-inning on a single by
Elliott, a sacrifice by Conaster, an infield out and a wild pitch.
Sain's win was his twenty-seventh complete game of the season and his
eleventh in the past twelve games. The last team to drive him from the box was
the Dodgers on August 21st in Brooklyn.
Musial got two hits off Sain, one a line drive double to right-center in the
first inning and a single that got by Frank McCormick. His double was the 97th
extra base hit of the year and he needs ten more to shatter the mark set by
Chuck Klein of the1930 Phillies. Musial has reached base 401 times, 49 behind the
mark set by Rogers Hornsby in 1922.