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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 8,1977

Posted 05-26-2018 at 03:56 PM by TommyJohn

September 8,1977
vs. California Angels
at Anaheim Stadium

The Sox won 3 of 4 after the Sunday loss to Baltimore, but the Royals kept on winning, preventing the Sox from gaining any ground.

One thing that the Sox had going for them even as they were struggling to keep pace with the Royals-they had yet to be shutout through the season. It was a stark contrast to 1976, when they were blanked 21 times, including on the last day of the season. Even in games where they only scored one run, Harry Caray was sure to note for his audience that the streak of not being shutout was still alive. As of this game against the Angels, the Sox had gone 136 games without registering a goose egg. Only one team in baseball history up to this point-the 1932 New York Yankees, had gone an entire season without being shutout.

The Sox went up against Nolan Ryan in game 1 of a twi-night doubleheader.

Ralph Garr started the game with a bang, leading off with a double, then advancing to 3rd base on a flyball by Alan Bannister. Then, with Jorge Orta at the plate, Ryan caught Garr napping at 3rd and picked him off. Orta then hit what would have been a sacrifice fly had Garr still been on. Instead, it went for the last out of the inning.

The Angels registered their first run in the 2nd, when Dave Chalk grounded to Alan Bannister with Don Baylor at 3rd. Bannister conceded the run to get Chalk at 1st.

Don Baylor scored again for the Angels in the 6th inning, this time by bombing a solo home run off Sox starter Francisco Barrios, who was having a fine game up to this point.

Meanwhile, the Sox were unable to dent the plate against Ryan. That looked to change in the 7th when Jorge Orta and Richie Zisk singled to put men on 1st and 2nd with one out. That finished Ryan for the game. He was lifted in favor of Dave LaRoche, left-handed reliever and father of the now well-beloved ex-Sox Adam LaRoche. Dave was brought in to face lefty-hitting Oscar Gamble. It worked, as Gamble flied out to centerfield. Right-handed hitting Lamar Johnson pinch-hit for the lefty Jim Spencer, but could only foul out to 1st baseman Willie Aikens to end the threat.

LaRoche sailed through the 8th inning, giving up only a harmless two out single to Jim Essian, who expired on base when Ralph Garr flied out to end the inning.

The Sox went into the 9th with their bid to join company with the 1932 Yankees in jeopardy. LaRoche struck out Alan Bannister and got Orta to fly out. Richie Zisk came up as the last hope and went down swinging. LaRoche accepted the congratulations of his teammates while Harry Caray sadly noted that the streak was over. I have no info to back it up, but I am reasonably sure that 136 games is the longest in franchise history that the team has gone without being shutout.

The Sox went out and lost the second game 3-2 in awful fashion-they held a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the 9th, only to have the Angels rally for 3 runs, the tying one on a throwing error (one of six the Sox defense committed in the two games) and the winning one on a wild pitch by Lerrin LaGrow.

Two guys who came out on the short end were Francisco Barrios and Ken Kravec. The Sox were plagued by pitching woes all season, but they weren't in evidence this night-Barrios walked none, struck out nine and gave up only two runs in losing the first game. Kravec pitched 8 innings of shutout ball in the nightcap, striking out 10 in the process. He departed after allowing the first two batters get on base in the 9th. The Angels' first two runs were charged to him, the losing run to Clay Carroll.

The news got worse for the Sox. The double loss now put them 7 games in back of the Royals. As Bob Verdi noted, with 24 games left, if the Royals somehow stumbled and played .500 ball the rest of the way, the Sox would have to go 20-4 to catch them. Even the most optimistic of White Sox fans (although "optimistic White Sox fan" seems a contradiction in terms) had to concede that it was appearing more and more likely that there would be no miracle division title for the South Side Hitmen.

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