We’re back at Forbes Field this time for Game 2 of the (Simulated) 1936 wild card series, the Newark Eagles versus the Homestead Grays. William Bell will be starting today for Newark, and Homestead will counter with Tom Parker.
Bell got off to a shaky start by walking Jerry Benjamin to lead off the game and giving up a single to Matt Carlisle. Vic Harris reached when he forced Carlisle at second, with Benjamin coming around to third. On a 3-2 pitch, Hall of Famer Buck Leonard hit a ground ball up the middle. Newark got Harris at second, but Leonard beat the throw to first, scoring Benjamin with Homestead’s first run.
Neither pitcher seemed especially sharp in the early innings. In the top of the third, Johnny Hayes led off with a single to right and Bell bunted him over to second. Paul Dixon went out on a sharp grounder, with Bell advancing to third. Harry Williams walked on four pitches, but Parker got Ed Stone on a ground ball to second. In the Homestead half of the third, Jerry Benjamin opened things up with a single to left, but Bell immediately picked him off. Which turned out to be a lucky break for Newark – after Matt Carlisle went out on a popup, Homestead manager Vic Harris hit a double off the right-center field wall, putting men on second and third. Buck Leonard loaded the bases, drawing a walk, but Bell ended the inning, getting Rap Dixon on a ground ball.
In the top of the fourth, Mule Suttles tied the game for Newark, hitting a no-doubter over the fence in dead center. The Eagles mounted an additional mild threat as Ray Dandridge stroked a two-out base hit and Johnny Hayes walked, but Parker got opposing pitcher William Bell on a ground ball.
Newark mounted a serious threat in the top of the sixth. Mule Suttles led off with a sharp single. Thad Christopher then reached on a one base error by Homestead second baseman Jerry Carlisle. After Willie Wells struck out, Ray Dandridge legged out a bouncing infield grounder for a base hit, loading the bases. Johnny Hayes hit a ground ball to second, but the Grays chose to come home, getting Mule Suttles on the force play at the plate. Pitcher Bell then ended the inning on a fly ball.
The Eagles finally took the lead in the top of the seventh. Harry Williams got things started with a one-out triple in the left-center gap. Ed Stone then scored Newark’s second run with a sacrifice fly to right.
Unfortunately for Newark, they immediately gave the run back in the bottom of the inning when William Bell’s control temporarily abandoned him. Jerry Benjamin drew a leadoff walk. Matt Carlisle reached on a one base error by Newark catcher Johnny Hayes, Benjamin coming all the way around to third on the play. Buck Leonard then scored the run with a sacrifice fly to deep center. Rap Dixon drew a walk to load the bases, but Bell then got Henry Spearman and Tommie Dukes on back to back fly balls.
Newark took the lead for good in the top of the eighth. Thad Christopher led off with a double. Although it looked for a moment as if Parker might wiggle out of trouble as he got Hall of Famers Willie Wells and Ray Dandridge on a ground ball and a pop up, Johnny Hayes then stroked a solid base hit to right, scoring the lead run for the Eagles.
Newark pitcher Bell regained his control once his team got the lead, retiring six of the last seven hitters he faced, including ending the game on back to back strikeouts of Buck Leonard and Rap Dixon.
So once again, we’re heading to a third and deciding game in this (Simulated) wild card playoff, as Newark ties the series at one.