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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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August 30,1977

Posted 05-24-2018 at 08:08 PM by TommyJohn

August 30,1977
vs. Cleveland Indians
at Cleveland Stadium

The Sox go into their last game of August hoping to salvage something from their first losing month of the season.

Sox rookie Ken Kravec, who took the mound on this night, was one of the guys in a slump. He was riding high with a 7-2 record when he lost four straight during the month.

His mound opponent would be Wayne Garland, former Orioles pitcher whom Cleveland management had signed to the richest contract in franchise history, which automatically tabbed him Public Enemy Number One in the eyes of the Indian fanbase. Every small struggle by Garland was instantly magnified by fans demanding absolute perfection each time Garland took the mound.

They didn't get it this night. The Sox went down in order in the first two innings before getting to Garland in the 3rd.

Don Kessinger started it with a walk, then went to 3rd on a single by Brian Downing, who ended up at 2nd base on the play. Ralph Garr grounded to 2nd. The ball short-hopped Duane Kuiper to load the bases. Chet Lemon grounded to Frank Duffy at short. Duffy bobbled the ball, then was unable to get it to Kuiper in time for a force play. Kessinger scored to make it 1-0. Lamar Johnson, in the lineup that night because Richie Zisk was sore, then lashed a base hit that scored two runs to make it 3-0.

That was all the offense Kravec needed as he effortlessly made his way through the Indians lineup. His shutout was going with one out in the 8th when Bill Melton stepped up to pinch hit for Frank Duffy. Kravec worked the count to two strikes, then caught Melton looking at strike three. Bill, batting .241 with no home runs on the season, returned to the bench to some boos from the crowd.

Kravec ran into a bit of trouble in the 9th, putting two on with two out. Taking no chances, Bob Lemon lifted him for Lerrin LaGrow, who gave up a run scoring single to veteran Rico Carty before being lifted for Dave Hamilton. The third Sox pitcher of the night made short work of Bruce Bochte, striking him out to end the game.

The Sox ended a month of agony at 73-56, 2 games in back of the Royals. Was there a chance to catch KC? One look at their records and number of games back was enough to offer hope. However, the Royals were 20-11 in August and asserting themselves in the race. The Sox' record for the month was 11-18 and they slowly but surely were headed in the opposite direction.

One event of note in the game was Melton's at bat in the 8th. He would not appear in a single game in September. At the end of the season, he would go unclaimed in the free agent draft by every team except one-the White Sox, who might have had a thought about luring him back to the south side for a last hurrah. Melton would opt for retirement instead.

Thus, two south side icons from the early 1970's-Dick Allen and Bill Melton-struck out in their final major league at bats against the 1977 White Sox.

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