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In honor of actor Andy Garcia and his (unintentionally) hilarious reaction to Sofia (Mary Corleone) Coppola's death scene in "The Godfather, Part III."
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July 4,1976

Posted 03-28-2018 at 08:55 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 08-18-2019 at 10:32 AM by TommyJohn

July 4,1976
vs. Texas Rangers
at Comiskey Park

The Sox celebrated the Bicentennial with a Sunday doubleheader against the Rangers.

Rookie Francisco Barrios got the starting assignment for game one, which ended up being a thriller.

The Sox struck first with three runs in the bottom of the 2nd, but Texas came right back with two in the next inning. The Sox added to their lead with one in the 4th, but Texas took the lead with three unearned runs in the top of the 6th.

The Sox were trailing 6-5 going into the bottom of the 9th when they staged a rally. Chet Lemon and Jorge Orta opened the inning with walks and both advanced a base on Brian Downing's ground out. One batter later Kevin Bell slapped a single to score Lemon and tie the game.

The game remained locked at 6 until the bottom of the 12th, which Bill Stein opened with a double. One batter later Bucky Dent reached on a error, with Stein taking 3rd. Chet Lemon grounded to Toby Harrah, who fired to home plate to trap Stein in a rundown. He was tagged out while Dent took 2nd. Jorge Orta then smacked a hard single through the infield. Dent charged around 3rd, scored the winning run, then collapsed with mock or real exhaustion.

Between games Sox fans got to take the field for a genuine Fourth of July picnic featuring watermelon, pie and sack races, compliments of Bill Veeck.

Chris Knapp, a skinny rookie pitcher with large glasses who looked more like an IT guy than a major league player, drew the start in game two. Knapp allowed only three runs, but two came in the 8th when catcher Bill Fahey singled in two runs. The Rangers had one on base when Joe Lahoud hit a fly ball to deep right. Rich Coggins settled under it to make the catch, only to be foiled when a fan reached out and touched the ball, deflecting it away from him. The umpires ruled no interference and the Rangers wound up with runners on 2nd and 3rd. Three batters later came Fahey's single.

Knapp wasn't helped by his offense, which went to sleep after game 1. The Sox weren't able to muster much off starter Steve Hargan until they mussed him up for 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th. Hargan gave way to Joe Hoerner, who got the Rangers out of the inning, then set the Sox down in the 9th to salvage a split.

Paul Richards was displeased with the results. "Our pitching staff was overpitched and undernourished. But after leaving 23 runners on base in 21 innings, and after the way things went, I ain't happy at all with a split. We got some unexpected help from a kid, and we didn't use it." He said, referring to Knapp's performance.

He was even less kind to the fans. "Those bastards in the stands cost us a ballgame" he said of the interference play in the 8th. "Why don't they have more police out there? Happens all the time."

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