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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 2,1977

Posted 05-06-2018 at 03:46 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-16-2018 at 03:06 PM by TommyJohn

July 2,1977
vs. Minnesota Twins
at Comiskey Park

First place showdown, day 2. The Twins took the field that day looking to take the top spot back from the White Sox. Once again, they would have no idea what hit them.

It was a hot, sunny July day and Harry Caray was in the centerfield bleachers calling the action when the Sox trotted out onto the field for the start of the game.

The Twins once again struck first, getting two runs off Sox starter Jack Kucek in the top of the 2nd.

The Sox struck in the 4th inning when Twin starter Bill Butler walked Alan Bannister and Jorge Orta to open the inning. Richie Zisk and Lamar Johnson flied out and for a moment it looked as if the Twins would escape the frame unharmed.

The Sox had other ideas. Chet Lemon drew the third walk of the inning to load the bases for Jim Spencer. The left field Sox Supporters greeted him with their banner "COME ON SPENCE OVER THE FENCE." Spencer obliged them, ripping a drive into the right field seats for a grand slam, his second one of the season, to give the Sox a 4-2 lead.

Alas, they couldn't hold it. The Twins blitzed them for 3 runs in the top of the 5th, the big blow a two run double by Larry Hisle. Kucek was relieved with Bart Johnson, who gave up one more run charged to the starter.

The Sox got it right back in their half of the 5th when Orta singled in Bannister. The Sox took the lead in the 6th when Jim Spencer cracked an RBI single, but the Twins got two in the top of the 8th to take a 7-6 lead.

It was in that inning that Twins manager Gene Mauch did something that may well have wound up costing his team the game. Mauch protested that Twins batters were having a hard time seeing the ball because several fans were gathered around Harry Caray out in centerfield. The game was momentarily delayed while the fans were told to move away from Caray. Chet Lemon said after the game that he was glad the Twins did this because it enabled them to see the ball better in the bottom of the 8th. And it showed.

Ralph Garr kicked off the festivities with one out when he grounded to Rod Carew, who flipped to pitcher Tom Johnson, who was unable to hold the toss. Jim Essian followed with a single, then Alan Bannister lofted a flyball to right that Dan Ford lost in the sun. That loaded the bases for Orta, who singled in two runs. Zisk lofted a sacrifice fly to score Bannister and Lamar Johnson singled in Orta. Chet Lemon singled to bring up Jim Spencer, who cracked a drive that found the seats for his second home run of the day. The Sox once again rang up a seven run inning.

Lerrin LaGrow went out for the 9th and gave up a run, but held the Twins after that. A crowd of 35,271 stood and roared, chanting "We're Number 1!" all through the inning up until Rob Wilfong flied out to end it. The Sox were now up on the Twins by a full game.

One of the big stories of the game was Jim Spencer. The big 1st baseman had two home runs-a grand slam and a 3 run shot, plus an RBI single for another 8 RBI day. A record that had been set only three times in 77 years by Sox hitters had been tied twice by Spencer in a span of less than two months.

Sox manager Bob Lemon summed up the day by telling Bill Jauss "Sometimes it seems you're just supposed to win. That there's no way you can lose. He [Dan Ford] lost that ball in the sun...and all hell broke loose."

The best was still yet to come.

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