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Sox Century: June 7, 1917

Walter Johnson goes the distance, then watches Reb Russell allow walk-off hit

Walter Johnson
Harris & Ewing / Library of Congress

It’d been nearly a month since the White Sox lost consecutive games, so it was impressive enough that the Washington Senators were able to take the first two games of the series.

That they shut out the White Sox on both days? Even more so.

Walter Johnson, who you may remember was off to an unusually rocky start when he faced the Sox the first time in 1917, returned to form to pitch a three-hitter in this one.

He needed every bit of it. Reb Russell carried a shutout into the ninth before the Senators were able to string together three useful at-bats to finally crack the scoreboard. From the Chicago Tribune:

Young Mr. [Sam] Rice opened up the ninth with a hot single over second. [Ray] Morgan immediately sacrificed. Then Eddie Gharrity, who was only subbing at first base and who really belongs in the bull pen where his job is warming up pitchers, picked on the second ball pitched him. He slammed it like a rifle shot down the third base line fair by not more than six inches and the ball bounced way out and caromed off the stand far into deep left field

The ball hid itself in the long grass somewhere because no one went after it. There was no used wasting time. Mr. Rice was home by that time and the game was over. Gharrity might have had two or three bases, but he ran only to first base and then to the shower bath.

The Senators had threatened Russell a couple times earlier in the game, as evidenced by the eight hits and a walk he scattered over his 813 innings. Joe Jackson turned a potential second-inning sacrifice fly into a double play when he cut down Rice at the plate. That throw may have made an impression, because Eddie Ainsmith was held at third on a single with one out in the fourth inning, and then cut down between third and home when Russell fielded a comebacker.

The White Sox only had one golden opportunity against the Big Train. Nemo Leibold reached on a dropped third strike with one out, then made it to third on Buck Weaver’s double. That brought the heart of the order to the plate, but Eddie Collins popped out in foul territory and Jackson grounded out to short. Otherwise, baserunners were few and far between as Johnson picked up his 235th win.

Record: 30-15 | Box score