VERN STEPHENS HOMERS
ON THIS DATE (August 20, 1948) ... On
the wings of Vern Stephens' 24th home run, with two aboard and two
outs, in the ninth-inning of the opening game, the Red Sox caught
fire at Fenway Park. They pulled out a 5 to 4, 10 inning victory on
Stan Spence's walkoff home run and then overwhelmed the Washington
Senators, 10 to 4, in the second game.
The first game ended with the Sox emerging from the very brink of defeat, and
was a personal triumph for Stephens and Spence, but it was proper justice for
Mel Parnell in escaping defeat, and a heartbreaker for Ray Scarborough, the
Senators' pitcher, who was but one batter away from a well-deserved 4 to 1
Scarborough had left ten men on base and had erased pinch hitting Wally Moses
and Dom DiMaggio in the home half of the 9th inning. Then things started to
happen. Johnny Pesky doubled to the base of the scoreboard in left-center and
Ted Williams drew his 90th walk of the season. Up came Vern Stephens and he took
Scarborough's first pitch high and far over the left-field net for the home run
that tied the game.
Scarborough then retired Bobby Doerr to end the inning, but he was back on
the mound before he could catch his breath. Earl Johnson came on to pitch the
10th inning for the Sox, and threw just six pitches to retire three men. Spence
led off Sox half of the 10th, and looked at a strike, then fouled off the pitch
and then took a ball, before connecting with the next one for the walkoff home
run into the visitors bullpen.
The Red Sox first run was scored when DiMaggio doubled and Pesky singled in
the seventh. It was the first breakthrough on the effective pitching from
Scarborough. Right from the beginning, Parnell appeared insufficiently warmed
up, but only one run of the two scored by Washington was earned. He then settled
down to pitch brilliant baseball, allowing the Nats hardly anything until Junior
Wooten singled to open the ninth. He faced only 25 men in that seventh inning
Jack Kramer got his 14th win in the second game. DiMaggio did his part to
erase a 2-0, Senators lead when he clouted a grand slam home run into left field
screen, highlighting a seven run second inning. Williams and Doerr followed with
home runs in the fifth inning.