SPAHN & SAIN and PRAY FOR RAIN ...
WORLD SERIES, GAME #4
bats are kept silent once again
October 9, 1948
... The Indians Steve Gromek, who had been
largely forgotten, hurled his team to a 2 to 1 win over the
Braves before 81,897 fans at Municipal Stadium, as the Indians gained
their third victory for a 3 to 1 series lead on Larry Doby's monstrous
400 foot home run off Johnny Sain in the third inning. Sain pitched a
neat five hitter but didn't win the game as his teammates could not
hit the ball at the opportune times to get runs across.
the Braves were futile with their bats. They managed to slap out seven hits,
only two more than the Indians got off Sain. But with men in scoring position,
Gromek and his knuckle half curveball bewildered the Braves. Outside of a few
pitches, both pitchers were just about perfect. They each served up a home run
ball but Sain had better control. Once more he didn't walk a batter, but he
got off to a rough start when the Indians got to him for two hits and their
initial run in the first inning.
Working with only two days rest, a normal procedure for Sain over the past
two months, his curveball didn't have the bite in the cold biting wind. He had
blanked the Indians on four hits only three days ago, but his scoreless stretch
was shattered in the first inning. Dale Mitchell, the leadoff hitter, looked at
a called strike and then cut loose on the next pitch. He sent it whistling past
Johnny's right knee out into center for a base hit. The Indians leading hitter
in the series, Larry Doby, slammed a hot bounder to the right of Earl Torgeson.
Torgy did well to block it and Sain raced over to take the toss, but Mitchell
moved over to second and was in scoring position.
Lou Boudreau didn't wait long when he came to bat. Sain tried to throw him a
low and away curve, but Boudreau was ready for it and poked it down the
right-field line past Torgeson. Tommy Holmes was carefully going for the ball,
fearful that it might bounced off the wall. Mitchell was homeward bound when
Tommy picked it up and Boudreau was on his way to second. Holmes' throw was over
Stanky's head and the Indians manager headed for third. He slid in just about
the same time Bob Elliott got the ball from Alvin Dark and umpire Bill Stewart
waved him out. Sain regained his composure and retired Joe Gordon on a ground
ball to Dark, but he was down 1-0.
With one out in the third, Doby hit a towering drive among the standees in
right-center to put the Indians out in front 2 to 0. That was the end of the
Indians attack because Sain was in command for the rest of the game. Only one of
the next 17 Cleveland batters reached first base.
Gromek had a four hit shutout for six innings, keeping the Boston hits
rationed to only one each inning. Torgeson doubled in the first inning, but Bob
Elliott, who the Indians bottled up almost completely during the series, popped
out to Hegan. In the third Stanky opened up with a long single to center and was
pushed the second on Sain's sacrifice bunt. But then Holmes gave the ball a
gentle roll down to Keltner and Dark popped out to Gordon to end that threat.
Opening the Boston seventh was Mark Rickert, who looked at two balls before
Gromek came in with a high pitch down the center the plate. The lead was shaved
in half by Marv's home run into the lower grandstand, giving the Braves hope of
deadlocking the series. Mike McCormick followed up with a single to left but
then Phil Masi unsuccessfully tried to sacrifice bunt him over.
The second of Torgeson's doubles in the eighth put Gromek in a hole. Once
more Elliott, the 1947 MVP of the National League and leading RBI man on the
team this year, had a chance to put the Braves back in the game. He took a swing
at the first pitch but popped it up. Both Keltner and Hegan charged after it,
bumped into each other, but Hegan kept his concentration and caught the ball.
Going into the ninth, Gromek turned on the juice. Rickert was his first
strikeout victim of the game for the first out. Then Mike McCormick watched a
called third strike blow by him. Bill Salkeld came up to bat for Masi and ran
the count to three and two. He lined one straight at Bob Kennedy in right field,
who tucked it away for the final out.