Once again, the White Sox were able to put an awful loss behind them by picking up two wins in one day.
The White Sox swept their third consecutive doubleheader, this time against Washington. Eddie Cicotte pitched a one-hitter to help the White Sox take the opener 5-0, and a pair of Hall of Famers teamed up to beat Walter Johnson in 11 innings to cap the sweep, 3-2. In the process, the White Sox stretched their American League lead by 1½ games over Boston, which dropped a second straight game to the St. Louis Browns.
Had Cicotte not pitched a no-hitter in his first start of the season, this one would have qualified as his best. He limited the Senators to a Ray Morgan single in the second and a Sam Rice walk in the seventh, and neither advanced to scoring position. Or, as Irving Vaughan of the Chicago Examiner put it:
The initial combat was an exhibition of Sox’ bats and some delicious hurling by old man Cicotte. Eddie was at his best and while his pals were making fresh with George Du Mont [sic] he was busily engaged keeping first base completely concealed from the enemy.
The White Sox torched Dumont for a run in the second and four in the third, and Chick Gandil factored heavily in both rallies. He scored on a Ray Schalk double for the first run, then provided the last of four hits to inflate the crooked number that effectively buried the Senators.
Game 2 provided far more drama with Johnson taking the mound, even if had struggled to find his usual form thus far in 1917. The Sox scored off him in the ninth inning of the series opener when Johnson came on to close it down, and they scored off him in the first when Eddie Collins drove in Nemo Leibold with a double.
When the Senators responded with a game-tying run off Red Faber in the fourth, the Sox immediately regained the lead. Gandil singled, stole second and scored on a Swede Risberg single.
The White Sox could have won this one in nine innings, but Risberg gave his run back in the field. Granted, Howie Shanks tripled with one out to put the tying run 90 feet away, but both papers suggested he was a gone goose when Clyde Milan bounced to short. Alas, Risberg fired wide, which not only allowed the run to score, but Milan to take second as well. Milan advanced to third on an infield single by Sam Rice, but the battery combined to cut down the runner before he got home this time around, according to the Examiner:
Faber knocked down a hard one off [Eddie] Foster’s bat and threw to [Ray] Schalk. The pill exchanged hands a few times and finally “Cracker” dropped it. He picked up the pil land turned to look at first and second, saw nobody was covering, and suddenly shot the pill to Risberg at third. Bluffed into thinking the ball was going elsewhere, Milan had stepped off the bag and couldn’t get back.
The run spelled extra innings, and the White Sox finally toppled Johnson in the 11th. One of Johnson’s curves drilled Buck Weaver right on the instep of his foot, and Shano Collins pinch-ran for him when Weaver’s foot failed its test. Good thing Weaver didn’t try to soldier through it, because Collins needed all of his healthy wheels to score from first on a triple by Eddie Collins, who summoned the spirit of a walk-off according to the Chicago Tribune (“Eddie was given credit for a three base hit, but he just kept on to the clubhouse after crossing third base, for the game was over”).
Faber bested Johnson in the clash of the future Cooperstown colleagues:
- Faber: 11 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
- Johnson: 10.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
The reporters and 10,000 fans liked what they saw from the Sox, who only committed one error and required two pitchers over 20 innings. From the Tribune:
Not this season have the south siders displayed more class than they did at this long matinee. They looked and acted like champions from start to finish. There was superb fielding, superlative pitching, timely and driving base hits and general all round efficiency.