The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox split a tense doubleheader before 26,162 fans at Fenway Park with the Tigers winning 4-3 in the first game and the Red Sox winning the second game 1-0. The split moved the defending World Champion Red Sox to within 1 1/2 games of the first place New York Yankees.
The Tigers, managed by Hughie Jennings, were in fifth place at the time although they were over .500. Jennings had righthander Willie Mitchell starting in the first game and lefty Bill James pitching the second. There were two Bill James in the majors at this time. This one was "Big Bill" as opposed to "Seattle Bill." Boston, managed by Bill Carrigan, had Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard starting in both ends of the doubleheader. (There were two Dutch Leonards too, this one had the real name of Hubert.)
Detroit started out well. Third baseman Ossie Vitt led off with a single. Shortstop Donie Bush tried to sacrifice, but catcher Hick Cady tried for the force at second, but was too late and both men were safe. First baseman George Burns did sacrifice successfully. Center fielder Ty Cobb hit a grounder to second baseman Jack Barry who threw over to first baseman Del Gainer, who dropped the throw and two runs came around to score. Gainer got one of the runs back in the bottom of the first on an RBI single to score right fielder Harry Hooper.
Boston tied the game up in the second on a double by center fielder Tilly Walker and an error by Burns on a grounder hit by Boston shortsop Everett Scott.
Detroit reclaimed the lead in the sixth when Mitchell singled to score second baseman Ralph Young. This came against Carl Mays, who had relieved Shore in the fourth inning.
Rube Foster was pitching the ninth for Boston and gave up a single to Burns and then a triple to Cobb to make it 4-2.
The Red Sox mounted a rally in the ninth. Gainer had a one-out double and he scored on a single by Walker. Pinch hitter Bill Carrigan singled to move Walker to second, but Mitchell got Scott to fly out to center and Cady to pop out to second to end the game.
In the nightcap, the only scoring came in the second inning. Dick Hoblitzell, Boston's other first baseman walked and Walker followed with a single. Third baseman Larry Gardner bunted the runners over. Scott then grounded to Burns who tried to throw out Hoblitzell at the plate, but he was not in time and the game's only run scored. Such was the economy of the Boston Globe typesetters at the time, that they did not bother to print a line score for Detroit since they had all zeros.
Leonard held Detroit to just four hits, three of them singles. In the ninth, Cobb led off with a single and went all the way to third on a sacrifice by left fielder Bobby Veach. Leonard got right fielder Harry Heilmann to pop out to first and Young lined out to left to end the game.
The Yankees would start to slide in late July and into August and the Red Sox were able to catch them and ended up winning the AL by two games over Chicago. The Yankees fell all the way to fourth 11 games out. Detroit finished in third, four games out. The first six teams in the AL were at .500 or better. The seventh place team, Washington, was just one game under. This of course meant that the last place team, Philadelphia, had to be really bad. And they were, the A's were 36-117.
The Red Sox would win the World Series for the second straight year and for the third time in five seasons. Boston got past Brooklyn in five games. The Red Sox would win the World Series again in 1918 before having a bit of a drought.
Surprisingly, Boston still was able to win even though they had traded away one of its stars, center fielder Tris Speaker, to Cleveland before the season started in exchange for Sam Jones and Fred Thomas. Speaker would lead the AL in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage in 1916. The only category of any note that a Boston player led in was shutouts. Babe Ruth had nine to lead the AL. Boston was sixth in the AL in runs scored, but they did allow the fewest.
Sources: Boston Globe, Retrosheet, Baseball-reference.com