BY JOHN JOHNSON / Grand National Tribune
BOSTON (Tuesday, September 10, 1918) — The Boston Red Sox turned a 4-0 seventh-inning deficit into a 6-4 win over the Cleveland Indians this afternoon at Fenway Park, scoring three times in the bottom of the seventh and three more in the eighth to win the fifth and deciding game of the 1918 American League Championship Series and book their tickets to the World Series.
Each of the top eight positions in the Boston batting order registered at least one hit, paced by two hits and a walk in four tries from Babe Ruth, who scored twice. George Whiteman cracked a pinch-hit two-run double in the seventh: Ruth also had a double while Harry Hooper and Everett Scott tripled. Dave Shean and Stuffy McInnis joined Ruth with two-hit showings.
Amos Strunk scored the tying run on a Shean single in the eighth. Shean came across to take the lead three batters later on Scott’s fly to right and Wally Schang singled in Ruth to finish the scoring.
Carl Mays won his second game of the series for Boston, going the distance despite 144 pitches and 12 hits. He allowed three earned runs, walked two men and struck out five.
Cleveland did its scoring one run at a time in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings, a process that required 10 hits and left seven men on base. Bill Wambsganss led the visitors with a four-hit day, smacking two singles and two doubles while scoring once. Ray Chapman and Steve O’Neill each hit safely twice.
Guy Morton suffered the loss for the visitors. After reaching the seventh-inning stretch with a shutout on three hits, he finished with 11 hits and a walk against six strikeouts. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the ninth but was never replaced on the mound as the Indian offense left the tying run in the batter’s box.
After two innings with a hit apiece, Cleveland broke the ice in the third inning with a Terry Turner single and a Chapman double. Tris Speaker’s single led to the second run in the fourth inning, although he crossed the plate with aid of an error after O’Neill’s hit. Wambsganss doubled and Braggo Roth singled him in two batters later to put the visitors up 3-0 at the game’s midpoint.
Cleveland concluded its scoring in the seventh inning, when it loaded the bases with no outs after a single, a double and an intentional walk. McInnis let most of the air from the balloon when he snared Roth’s line drive and doubled Speaker off first base. O’Neill scored Chapman with a single, but trail runner Wambsganss was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
From the third inning to the sixth, Boston’s only baserunners were Shean, who was thrown out stealing after a fourth-inning single, and Scott, who tripled in the fifth and watched the next two men fail to get the ball out of the infield.
The bottom of the seventh marked a change: Hooper led off with a triple and promptly scored on Ruth’s infield single, then Ruth moved to second on a McInnis hit past the first baseman. Scott bunted the men into scoring position and, after a lineout, Whiteman doubled into left to trim the lead to 4-3. That brought Mays up as the go-ahead run, but he grounded out as pitchers often do.
That flipped the lineup over to start the eighth, though, and Strunk took second on a single and error combination. Shean tied the score with a base hit, and after Hooper fanned, Morton walked Ruth so as not to be smacked by the Sultan of Swat.
McInnis singled to load the bases, which removed any margin for error so that, when Scott flied to right-center, Shean trotted home with the go-ahead run. Schang added insurance with a single to score Ruth before George Cochran struck out.
Scott caught three pop flies to end the game in the ninth inning. Wambsganss did intervene with a two-out single up the middle, but Speaker’s attempt to move him ahead proved futile.
The Boston win ends the 1918 Playoff of Dreams, since it sets up the same Cubs-Red Sox matchup in the World Series that occurred in real life. We will proceed to the 1918 World Series recap and the 1919 Playoff of Dreams in due course.