Bobby Doerr's walk-off in the 10th ends a back and forth battle
ON THIS DATE (May 24, 1949) ... Ted Williams walloped a home run and two doubles against the Detroit Tigers, at Fenway Park, and the Sox scored two runs in the 10th inning, on Bobby Doerr's single, to win the game, 8 to 7.
Williams was smashing the ball all day, as he homered into the left-field net, doubled high off the left-field wall and doubled into right-center field, driving in two runs. Not far behind was Doerr, who homered in addition to hitting the walkoff base hit in the 10th to win the game. He also made the defense of play to end a Tiger rally in the eighth inning.
The Red Sox started the scoring in the bottom of the first when Williams took an outside fastball from starter Art Houtteman and sent it into the left-field netting, for his ninth homer of the year. The Tigers went up by one in the second inning when a walk by Mickey Harris to Hoot Evers preceeded a home run by Johnny Groth into the left centerfield net.
In the third inning, Don Kolloway doubled and was moved over to third on Paul Campbell's infield out. He scored when George Kell reached first on an error by Johnny Pesky to put the Tigers up 3 to 1.
The Red Sox knotted up the game in the fifth inning. Birdie Tebbetts led off with an infield hit and was moved over by Mickey Harris'sacrifice bunt. Successive doubles by Pesky and Williams tied up the score at 3-3.
Harris got a little wild in the sixth and with one out walked Vic Wertz and Evers. Wertz scored when Groth lined a single right. That was the end of the day for Harris and Tex Hughson was brought in. Tex got Johnny Lipon to hit into an inning ending double play. With the Sox now down one in the bottom of the inning, Doerr tied up the game again by hitting his fourth homer of the year, high into left-center field net.
Williams opened the seventh with a hustling double on a line drive that went down the first base line and scored on Vern Stephens' line drive to the wall in left-center, putting the Sox up this time, 5 to 4. In the eighth-inning after Tebbetts singled, Dom DiMaggio's double to deep right center, that scored Tebbetts, seemed to give the Sox a cushion.
But then came the top of the ninth and Hughson could not hold the lead. He started off by walking Aaron Robinson, but got pinch-hitter Pat Mullin on a strikeout. After Kolloway flew out to DiMaggio, Paul Campbell dropped a Texas Leaguer in front of Dom in center. With runners on first and second, Kell lined a single to left-center that scored one run and then Wertz lined a single to the same area, to score the second run of the inning. Hughson got Evers to ground out but the lead was lost and the game was tied at 6 to 6.
In the bottom of the ninth Vern Stephens started off with a double in the gap in left-center for the Sox. Tigers reliever, Lou Kretlow, then intentionally walked Doerr and the runners moved up when Billy Goodman pushed a bunt back to the mound. Al Zarilla was walked to load the bases, but all the runners died where they were, as Tebbetts and Billy Hitchcock could not get the hit the Red Sox needed.
And so the game went into extra innings and Earl Johnson came into pitch. He immediately got himself in trouble when he walked Groth to start the inning. Lipon lined a single, on a hit and run, to right that moved Groth to third, where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Hank Riebe out to DiMaggio.
In the bottom of the 10th, DiMaggio walked to start it off. Pesky lined a single to right and Ted hit a bouncer back to the box that Kretlow bobbled and allowed both baserunners to move up to second and third. Stephens was intentionally walked to load the bases, before Doerr lifted his blooper into right that fell in and won the game .
Doerr also came through with a great play on Wertz. In the eighth-inning. He went far behind second for a great backhanded stop of a nasty hopper, then made a leaping pivot, with a sure throw to Goodman, to get the runner.