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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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September 4,1977

Posted 05-25-2018 at 09:58 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 07-22-2018 at 02:04 PM by TommyJohn

September 4,1977
vs. Baltimore Orioles
at Comiskey Park

The Sox kicked off September with a three game set vs. the Orioles, who were fighting for their own lives in the AL East. They were falling behind the Yankees, who were blistering hot since August 1. The White Sox needed the series to keep pace with the Royals, who were showing no signs of slowing down.

The teams met for a rubber game on Sunday having split the first two games. 48,952 fans, the second-largest crowd of the season, came out for the Jacket Day promotion and wound up watching a contest that Bob Logan called "one of the season's finest" in the next day's Tribune.

The Sox struck right away off Oriole starter Jim Palmer, putting two men on in the 1st inning before Oscar Gamble lined a two out single to score Ralph Garr. Palmer then got Eric Soderholm to line out to end the inning. They added a run in the 4th on an RBI single by Jim Spencer to take a 2-0 lead.

Steve Stone held the Orioles scoreless for 5 innings, but was finally reached in the top of the 6th inning when Pat Kelly hit a sacrifice fly to score Ken Singleton.

That's how things stood until the top of the 8th, when the Orioles started to once again make noise. The first two batters got on base, then Lee May drove one of them across with a single to tie the game. That ended Stone's day, but not Baltimore's scoring. Three batters later Terry Crowley smacked a bases loaded single off Lerrin LaGrow to plate two runs and give the Orioles a 4-2 lead.

The Sox, however, did not quit. With two out and two on in their half of the 8th, Jim Spencer sliced a single and Lamar Johnson bashed a double to tie the score and send the crowd into a frenzy.

The Orioles struck right back in the top of the 9th against Clay Carroll, reliever traded away in the offseason and reacquired on September 1 to shore up the pitching staff.

The play of the inning came with runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out. Lee May hit a bounder to Alan Bannister, who flipped to Jack Brohamer for one. Jack fired to Jim Spencer in hopes of getting the double play, but May, never the fastest player under the best of circumstances, turned on the jet engines and came burning his way up the line. May hit the bag just a moment before Spencer got the throw and was called safe. Spencer vigorously protested the call, to no avail. Al Bumbry scored from 3rd to give the Orioles a 5-4 lead.

This brought up the Orioles' hot-hitting rookie 1st baseman Eddie Murray, who slammed a prodigious drive to right field. The crowd gasped as Oscar Gamble drifted back and watched Murray's clutch blast land in the upper deck, a sight that would become painfully familiar to Sox fans over the next several years.

The Sox once again did not quit. With two out and nobody on base in the 9th, John Flannery drew a walk, Oscar Gamble singled and Eric Soderholm singled to score Flannery and make it 7-5. Jim Spencer came up as the potential winning run. The crowd rose and cheered in hopes of another comeback. The Sox, however, chose that moment to run out of magic. Spencer grounded to Eddie Murray, who scooped up the ball and touched 1st to end the game.

The loss left the Sox 5 games in back of the Royals, who won again.

"Don't know how many we can afford to lose" Gamble told Bob Verdi. "But if Kansas City doesn't start losing, it may not matter."

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