Catching up on 1917 after an interruption from the Todd Frazier trade...
After sweeping a third consecutive doubleheader the day before, an opportunity for a fourth presented itself to the White Sox the next day.
You’ll never guess what happened — the Sox blanked the Senators 4-0 in the first, and they took the second one, 7-4. That’s not bad considering they had to use a couple of auxiliary starters.
Joe Benz went the distance in the first, throwing a three-hitter in his first start since June 23. He held the Senators to all singles and three walks while striking out four. The Chicago Tribune raved about the performance:
Joe looked much as he did in the past when the old spitter was breaking properly. There wasn’t a time when the back of his neck turned red with distress, nor did he even go once into the dirt with his hands, as has been his custom in the past when a lot of guys started hitting or walking to first base.
Joe was smiling all through the game this time and made a lot of people glad when he walked off the field at the end of the ninth with a clean cut victory to his credit. Folks cheered and applauded and Joe had to raise his cap in recognition.
Hackensack junkman Harry Harper didn’t have as much luck. He held the Sox to just one run through the first five innings, but the Sox pulled away for good in the sixth.
Joe Jackson was at the center of the doubleheader, which was a good sign since an ankle injury had contributed to a July slump. He started the two-run sixth by taking a pitch to the ribs, took third on a Happy Felsch single and scored on a double steal. Swede Risberg then singled over third base to score Felsch to make it a 3-0 game. Benz then added to his cushion by leading off the seventh with a double and scoring.
The second game was less straightforward, although the Sox wasted no time building a 4-0 lead off Bert Gallia, who dug his own grave with three straight one-out walks to load the bases. Happy Felsch got the Sox on the board with a sacrifice fly, after which a Chick Gandil HBP loaded the bases. After that, bad luck took hold, with two grounders to short ending in runs. Howie Shanks first threw wild on an attempted force at second for one run, and then a ball took a bad hop on him for two more.
Four runs probably would have been enough to win this one -- Dave Danforth and Reb Russell could afford to be wild over the last couple of innings — but Jackson gave the Sox their needed fifth with a homer into the right-field bleachers. Jackson reached base six times over the two games, going 2-for-4 with the homer, three walks and the plunking.
The sweep was just what the Sox needed before the Red Sox came to town for a five-game series. While the Red Sox beat the Browns 1-0 behind a great effort by Carl Mays, the Sox were still able to extend their lead to 2½ games, giving them some margin of error for a series the Tribune hyped:
The crucial series with the Boston Red Sox begins today. Only one game this time. The definition of crucial is “supremely critical.”