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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 30,1977

Posted 05-12-2018 at 03:28 PM by TommyJohn
Updated 09-16-2018 at 06:00 PM by TommyJohn

July 30,1977
vs. Kansas City Royals
at Comiskey Park

Game 2 of the big showdown with the Royals was very much like the first. A large crowd of 34,945 turned out, turned on and remained on 11 throughout. "Once again, chairs were optional" wrote Bob Verdi in his game summary.

The Royals once again did not take long at all to take charge of the proceedings. George Brett led the game off by torching starter Francisco Barrios for a home run, and instantly it was 1-0. That may have been cause for alarm with Sox fans in say, 1967, when a great pitching team had no hitting, or 1976, when the Sox were just plain bad, but 1977 was a whole different animal. Sox fans knew it was a matter of kicking back and waiting for the South Side Hitmen to kick into gear.

Sure enough it happened, though it did take a while. KC scored in the 5th on an RBI double by Fred Patek. They threatened to break the game open in the 6th when Hal McRae and Pete LaCock singled to open the inning, putting runners on 1st and 3rd. Al Cowens lofted a soft fly ball into short right field. LaCock was cocky enough to think it would drop and took off on the play. Jorge Orta stunned everyone with an over-the-shoulder, back-to-the-plate catch. He whirled and threw to Jim Spencer to catch LaCock, who was practically at 3rd base. Spencer then turned and whipped a throw to Eric Soderholm in a bid to catch McRae. Hal managed to scramble back to 3rd in time to avoid the triple play. John Mayberry then doubled him in to give KC a 3-0 lead. Amos Otis then grounded out to end what could have been a huge inning for KC if not for Orta.

Things look like they were going to turn in the bottom of the 6th, when the Sox put the first three men on base, but Ralph Garr and Alan Bannister both fouled out to put the Royals on the verge of getting out of the inning unscathed.

Jorge Orta had other ideas, lashing a two run double to bring the Sox to within one. The crowd was pumped as Richie Zisk came to the plate, but Richie short-circuited the rally by popping out.

That merely delayed it for one inning. In the bottom of the 7th Oscar Gamble and Chet Lemon got on base with singles. Eric Soderholm came up and bashed a drive deep to left. The crowd gave a ballpark-shaking roar as the ball landed in the seats for a game-breaking, three run homer. Soderholm remembered actually "feeling" the deafening noise level of the fans as he circled the bases. The fans remained on their feet and presumably (the Tribune recap doesn't specify) called him out for a curtain call after the home run.

The Royals sat in their dugout and glumly stared at the field as Sox fans rocked the ballpark with their cheers, Nancy Faust jammed away at the organ, and the party atmosphere grew and grew. They were taking mental notes.

Jorge Orta added to his Hero of the Game status when he homered in the 8th inning for his 3rd RBI of the game. The fans once again roared, danced, sang and pounded themselves silly.

The Royals weren't about to go quietly. They put runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. After Tom Poquette flied out, Joe Lahoud singled to make the score 6-4.

This only delayed the inevitable. George Brett, who led off the game with a home run, brought it full circle by popping out to Eric Soderholm to end it. The crowd once again danced, sang and partied as the Sox moved in to slap themselves on the back. Their record in July now stood at 21-5 and they were at 61-37, 5 1/2 games in front of the Royals.

The Sox were definitely the talk of Chicago and the baseball world. Hell, even Rick Talley was devoting a column or two to them. Everybody was impressed with them. Everyone, that is, except the Kansas City Royals.

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