The Yankees had given the White Sox a difficult time over the first three months of the season. Chicago and New York had split the first 16 games between them, and many of the contests were as taut as the head-to-head record suggested, with four of them going to extra innings.
But the Yankee started running out of gas this month. After spending most of the season in the first division, a 7-15 start to August knocked them to a sub-.500 record of 56-60.
The White Sox were content to kick them while they were down, opening the three-game set with a resounding 8-3 victory in front of a hearty Sunday matinee crowd at Comiskey Park.
The hit totals suggested a closer game than the run totals, as the White Sox barely outhit the Yankees 14-13, but the White Sox did a better job with the order of it. In particular, they got a huge boost from leadoff man Shano Collins, who feasted on the Yankee lefties George Mogridge and Nick Cullop.
Collins reached base safely all five times up, going 4-for-4 with a double and an HBP, and he outscored the Yankees himself, 4-3. Joe Jackson had the biggest day behind Collins, delivering an RBI double in the first inning and a two-run single in the third.
Perhaps this game could’ve been a true slugfest if Dave Danforth hadn’t delivered a six-inning save.
Under modern rules, there is no such thing a six-inning save. A pitcher can max out at four innings. Anything more, and he becomes the pitcher of record if he inherits a lead. But 100 years ago in Ban Johnson’s American League, scorers were far more lax with the concept of a minimum-innings threshold. The AL would catch up with the NL starting a year later, but for the time being, Reb Russell benefited from the idiosyncrasy.
In this case, the Yankees hit Russell hard over three innings, touching him up for six hits and walk. They could only muster two runs — one on a bases-loaded double-play ball in the second, and another on a two-out triple by Wally Pipp, giving New York a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the third.
Pants Rowland let the accomplished hitter Russell bat for himself, and he singled to lead off the third and took second on a bobble by Yankee center fielder Tim Hendryx. Rowland then let Ziggy Hasbrook pinch-run for him, and he came around to score the tying run on Jackson’s two-run single.
(Unfamiliar with Hasbrook? So am I. This was his first appearance for the 1917 White Sox after nine plate appearances over nine games in 1916.)
At any rate, after Jackson’s single put the Sox ahead, Danforth came in and kept the Yankees in check while the Sox kept adding on against Mogridge. The Yankees didn’t score again until the seventh, and that only cut the White Sox’ lead to 7-3. Danforth had to manage traffic, allowing seven hits and three walks over his six innings, but it was good enough to win. Or save, as it were.
Record: 77-46 | Box score