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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 29,1973

Posted 11-11-2017 at 03:49 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 06-25-2018 at 10:41 PM by TommyJohn

July 29,1973
vs. Minnesota Twins
at Metropolitan Stadium

On the same day that Stu Holcomb parted ways with the team, the Sox went out and lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to the Royals in Kansas City. Steve Stone had pitched a brilliant 7.1 innings of shutout ball, but Terry Forster couldn't hold a 1-0 lead in the 9th; the Royals tied it and won in the 10th. The loss put the Sox at 50-51, the first time they were below .500 since they had been 3-4 in early April.

Two days later Wilbur Wood provided a bit of a life preserver to the sinking Sox when he went out and beat the Twins, 8-6.

Wood hardly had the Twins mesmerized, though, giving up all six runs on 11 hits and needing relief help from Cy Acosta.

The Sox staked Wood to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st on RBI hits from Ken Henderson and Tony Muser and a little sloppy play by the Twins, which allowed one of the runs to be unearned.

It was 3-2 in the 3rd when Henderson, still feeling gimpy-kneed, struck a 3 run homer to widen the lead to 6-2.

It was 8-3 in the 7th when Wood gave up a run and departed with two runners on base. Acosta came on in relief and proceeded to allow in two more runs that were charged to Wood.

It wasn't pretty. No sportswriter would weave sentences together comparing Wood's performance to watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel. But it was a win, and it gave Wilbur 20 for the season. He became the first 20 game winner in the majors that year and was also the first Sox pitcher to string together 3 consecutive 20 win seasons since Hall-of-Famer Red Faber had done it from 1920-22. It was the earliest he had achieved the milestone, having won his 20th on September 12 and August 12 the previous two years. He was also a mere two days off the pace of baseball's last 30 game winner, Denny McLain, who had won his 20th game of the season on July 27,1968.

None of this mattered to Wood, however. "But my personal satisfaction will be in seeing this club win a division title" he told the gathered media after the game.

The win put the Sox at 51-52. They stood only 6 1/2 games in back of Oakland. The Sox had erased an 8 1/2 game Oakland lead a year earlier, so Wood's declaration didn't seem like he was blowing smoke. However, the 1972 team was a hungry ballclub on the rise, unaware of its own limitations. The 1973 version was an injury-riddled, unhappy team headed in the opposite direction.
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