Yanks take series, with DiMaggio aiding rally

Yanks take series, with DiMaggio aiding rally

NEW YORK, May 20, 1941 -- The Yankees did what they had to do on Tuesday afternoon. Now they'll see if they can do what they want to do.

It took this currently middling New York club into the early evening hours -- specifically until there were two out in the bottom of the ninth inning -- to head off the Yankee Stadium field with a 10 to 9 victory over the hapless St. Louis Browns and take two of the three games in the series.

Joe DiMaggio's run to 56: Rewriting the record

Now the Yankees will try to finally build on the momentum and make up some ground on the first-place Cleveland Indians.

Tuesday's arduous task came to a close in a literal comedy of errors by last-place St. Louis. Facing Browns pitcher George Caster, the winning rally began with a Johnny Sturm single. Sturm was forced out at second on a Red Rolfe fielder's choice, but Rolfe advanced to second on an error by St. Louis shortstop Johnny Lucadello.

After a Tommy Henrich walk, Joe DiMaggio lofted a high fly ball that fell into center field, but it became a fielder's choice when Rolfe was thrown out trying to advance to third. The next batter, Charlie Keller, hit a ground ball to Caster, whose throwing error allowed Henrich to scamper home with the unlikely but satisfying winning run.

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All told, the Browns committed six errors and allowed every member of the Yankees' starting nine to cross the plate (starter Red Ruffing accomplished the feat twice).

Sturm and Bill Dickey each had three hits for New York, with Dickey clouting a home run, his third of the still-young season. Dickey batted in three runs and Henrich plated two, while DiMaggio had a leadoff single that keyed the Yankees' three-run eighth.

Most important, however, is the fact that the Yankees are again level in record at 17-17 as they gird for a two-game showdown against the Detroit Tigers.

On May 15, 1941, Joe DiMaggio began his legendary 56-game hitting streak. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of that seemingly unbreakable record, we'll be doing a day-by-day account of the momentous feat.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.