Mel Parnell ties a record while Vern Stevens slams 2 HRs
ON THIS DATE (September 16, 1949) ... Mel Parnell chalked up his 23rd win of the season, as the Red Sox trounced the St. Louis Browns by a score of 12 to 4. Parnell has now won 33 of his last 40 starts for the Red Sox.
The 23rd win for Parnell equaled a record set by Babe Ruth for left-handed pitchers. The Babe won 23 games in both 1916 and 1917. In 1935, Lefty Grove was a 20 game winner for the Red Sox. Carl Hubbell of the Giants is the only National League lefty, in the last 20 years, to win as many as 23 games.
Vern Stephens furnished the power for Parnell's win. He belted two of Tom Ferrick's best pitches for home runs. His first one cleared the net in left field, to break a 3 to 3 tie. His second one, with Ted Williams aboard, was a slashing line drive, that was still going up when it made contact with the screen in left-center. It broke up the game in the seventh inning. The two home runs were Stephens' 37th and 38th of the season and brought him into a deadlock with Ted for the American League home run derby leadership.
A pair of gift runs, put the Red Sox out in front, 2 to 0, in the second inning. Al Zarilla, who with Lou Stringer enjoyed a perfect four for four afternoon, opened up the inning with a single. Billy Goodman flied out and Stringer doubled down the left-field line. Birdie's Tebbetts slapped the ball at Jerry Priddy, who in his haste to nail Zarilla at the plate, failed to catch the line drive. It went of his glove for an error, as Zarilla scored and Stringer took third, and put Tebbetts on first.
Parnell was up next and fouled out to the catcher, while Stringer tagged up and tried to score from third after the catch. Tebbetts also tagged up and broke for second base. Catcher Les Moss, not expecting to have to throw the ball after the catch, threw and hit Priddy, who had come in and was standing between the mound and second base. Tebbetts after breaking for second, stopped intentionally, daring Moss to try and get him. It worked. The ball bounced away and Stringer raced home also.
Priddy's double and Roy Sievers' single got the Browns a run in the fourth inning. The Sox got that back on singles by Zarilla, Billy Goodman and Stringer in the bottom half of the inning. But the Browns bounced back to tie it at 3 to 3 in the fifth. A single by John Sullivan, a double by Stan Spence scored him, and a base hit by Priddy scored Spence.
Stephens broke the tie with his 37th homer over the screen to the left of the first light tower. But a walk, a single and a ground ball out tied it up for the Browns, once again, in the sixth, 4 to 4.
Stringer walked to open up the sixth inning and Tebbetts followed him with a single. Parnell lofted a fly ball to deep right, permitting Stringer to scamper over to third. He scored when Dom DiMaggio flew out to Sievers in center field, giving the Sox a one up lead, 5 to 4. The Sox never looked back because after that. In the bottom of the seventh, Ferrick walked Williams and it was followed by the second home run by Vern Stephens.
Five runs were scored in the eighth off Joe Ostrowski. A single by DiMaggio and two doubles, by Pesky and Williams accounted for the first run of the inning. After Zarilla singled and Williams moved over to third, Goodman's force of Zarilla, at second, allowed Williams to score. Stringer then slammed one into the left-field net, to score himself and Goodman. That made it 12 to 4.
Williams kept on Stephens' heels in the RBI race. He drove in two runs during the eighth-inning uprising, to put him two behind Stephens with 147. Stephens with his home runs, picked up three RBIs for a total of 149. Ted might have had more when he belted one out for the Sox bullpen in the third inning, only to be robbed of extra bases on a spectacular running catch by Dick Kokos.