Red Ruffing was not only a Hall of Fame pitcher, but also a pretty solid hitter. His 36 career homers rank second all-time among pitchers, trailing only Wes Ferrell. On August 13, 1932, the hitting aspect of Ruffing’s game wound up being pretty crucial.
The Yankees were in Washington, D.C. playing the Senators on August 13, 1932, and put their first two runners of the game on. Earle Combs led off the game with a walk, followed by a single from Joe Sewell, bringing up Babe Ruth. Two runners on with nobody out and Ruth at the plate was usually a pretty good thing for the Yankees. However, Ruth grounded into a double play, followed by Lou Gehrig flying out to end the inning.
In the top of the second, the Yankees stranded another runner. Ruffing didn’t allow a runner in the first two frames, and then led off the third with a single of his own. However, the top of the Yankees’ order then went down in order, leaving Ruffing stuck at first.
The Senators put their first runner on in the bottom of the third, when Ruffing issued a walk to Roy Spencer. Ruffing would work around it and keep the game scoreless. In the fourth and fifth innings, the Yankees again wasted chances with runners in scoring position. The opportunity in the fifth came after Ruffing picked up another single.
After that, neither team put a runner on until the bottom of the eighth, when Ruffing again walked Spencer. In the bottom of the ninth, Ruffing got into some big trouble. After allowing a leadoff single to Sam Rice, Ruffing got the next two hitters to fly out. Joe Cronin then singled, moving Rice to third. Following a Cronin steal, the Senators had runners on second and third with two outs. Ruffing struck out Joe Kuhel to end the inning and keep the game tied.
In the top of the tenth, the first two Yankee hitters went down in order, bringing Ruffing to the plate. At that point, Ruffing decided to just do it himself. With Senators starter Tommy Thomas still on the mound, Ruffing hit a solo home run, finally bringing home the game’s first run.
Ruffing stayed in the game to pitch the bottom of the tenth. He retired the side in order, and the Yankees won 1-0.
The Yankees finished the game with seven hits. Three of them came from Ruffing. The three hits he picked up was the same amount he allowed to the Senators. In a game where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig combined to go 0-8 and not reach base once, Ruffing himself provided all the support he needed.
Data courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index