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Sox Century: Sept. 1, 1917

The White Sox’ winning streak ends at nine games

The Chicago Tribune headline on Sept. 2, 1917.

Dave Danforth pitched 7 23 innings of no-hit relief against the St. Louis Browns three days before, so Pants Rowland tried to see if he could carry that over into a start today.

No dice. The Browns figured Danforth out this time, battering him for nine hits over 5 23 innings. Combine that with poor White Sox defense, and you have a 6-3 St. Louis victory that staved off a White Sox sweep.

The Sox had won nine games in a row, so it’s funny to see the papers treat this as a minor threat, even if the Boston Red Sox had also won today to narrow the league lead to 3½ games. The Chicago Tribune said the loss put “quite a reef” in the White Sox’ lead, while the Chicago Examiner used “a sudden crimp.”

Granted, the White Sox could have done more. They had a 14-13 edge in reaching base, and they committed two errors while the Browns avoided that column. The Tribune’s I.E. Sanborn summed it up in the blunt fashion of the day, saying “The Rowlands really defeated themselves by dumb work both defensively and offensively.”

For instance, Ernie Koob gave up a triple to Joe Jackson starting the second, then issued four walks ... and yet the White Sox only scored one run. How? Well, Happy Felsch drew the first to put runners on the corners, but was picked off. Koob fanned Chick Gandil for the second out, then issued three consecutive walks to force home a run, with Danforth of all people getting the RBI. Then, with Koob on the ropes, the Tribune said Collins chased two pitches for strikes before fouling out.

Compounding that, Danforth had the third out picked off in the top of the third, but Gandil and Swede Risberg botched the rundown. A triple and a single later, the Browns scored a couple runs to take a 2-1 lead. The Sox struck for two runs in the bottom of the third with competent offense to retake the lead.

But over the last two-thirds of the game, it’s hard to say the Sox deserved it. They started getting to Danforth with regularity, tying together a double and a triple in the fourth to tie the game, then three straight singles in the sixth to take the lead. The Sox, conversely, only had one shot, although it was a good one -- bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning. Bob Groom pulled off the escape, striking out Felsch and pinch-hitting Eddie Murphy to erase the last Sox threat.

If there were any reason for mild alarm, it was that the Sox faced back-to-back doubleheaders against Detroit coming up. They couldn’t afford to get sloppy, lest they lose three games of ground in two days. On the other hand, if they won all those games...

Record: 83-47 | Box score