single wins a "must win"
ON THIS DATE (August 11, 1949) ... The Red Sox won a "must win" game at Fenway Park by beating the Yankees, 7 to 6, only because of their superior relief pitching. By taking two out of three in the series, they reduced the Yankees' lead over them to 5 1/2 games.
The game was won on Bobby Doerr's run-scoring single in the sixth inning. Mel Parnell protected the lead to get his 17th win, his first in relief. However Parnell blew a three run Red Sox lead, after he came in to relieve the starter, Jack Kramer, in the sixth inning.
Ted Williams was a pest to the Yankees all day, slamming out his 29th home run, singling twice, reaching on an error, to keep a rally alive, and then drawing a walk. In spite of spectacular home run blows by Williams in the first inning and Joe DiMaggio, with two on, that tied up the score in the fourth, the game was decided by an ordinary base hit over second base by Doerr.
Williams blasted his 29th home run in the first inning off Allie Reynolds, and Jack Kramer started the scoring in the third, with a base hit. It was followed by a double from Dom DiMaggio and a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Johnny Pesky.
In the top of the fourth, Kramer gave up successive singles to Bob Brown and Tommy Henrich, before giving Joe DiMaggio a home run pitch, that was a terrific smash off the left-field light tower, tying up the game at 3 to 3. Woodling followed with a single and Hank Bauer sacrificed him over, but Kramer struck out Jerry Coleman and Fred Sanford, sandwiched around a walk to Charley Silveira.
Birdie Tebbetts sparked a three run fourth inning, that evicted Sanford for Cuddles Marshall, with his fifth home run into the left-field net. Kramer drew a walk and Dom lined a single, to put runners on second and third. An error by Tommy Henrich, on a tricky bouncer from Ted Williams, loaded the bases for Vern Stephens. Marshall walked him to bring in Kramer with the go-ahead run, then uncorked a wild pitch that permitted Dom to score the sixth Red Sox run, putting the Sox up 6 to 3.
In the top of the sixth the Yankees rallied. Mel Parnell came in to pitch for Kramer, who had been pinch-hit for in the previous inning. He gave a walk up to Joe DiMaggio and another one to pinch-hitter, Johnny Lindell. He then struck out Hank Bauer before Jerry Coleman touched him for a single to right that scored Joe. Silveira then lined a single to left that scored Lindell. Parnell got pinch-hitter Charlie Keller to pop out to Pesky but then walked Rizzuto to load the bases. He next walked Billy Johnson the score Coleman and finally got out of the inning by striking out Henrich, but the game was tied.
The Sox came to bat in their half of the sixth inning facing the third Yankee reliever, Ralph Buxton with the score tied at 6 to 6. There were two outs and the Yankees went into the "Williams Shift" with shortstop Phil Rizzuto on the first base side of second base. However, after the one and one count, Casey Stengel decided of move Rizzuto back to his normal shortstop side of second base. Ted sent a grounder right to the spot that Rizzuto had just vacated. Vern Stephens drew a walk and Doerr went to a three and zero count before lining a single to center that scored Williams with the eventual game-winning lead.
However the Sox were far from home. In the seventh inning Parnell got two quick outs and then gave up successive singles to Hank Bauer and Jerry Coleman. He recovered well enough to retire Charley Silveira on a fly ball out to the rightfielder, Al Zarilla. Parnell retired the Yankees in order in the eighth, but in the ninth Tommy Henrich greeted him with a single to right. He went on to strike out Joe DiMaggio and Hank Bauer, as well is getting Johnny Lindell on a fly ball, to preserve the win.