(2nd Game)

Friday, July 21, 1978 at Tiger Stadium
Game 1256 – 10/7/12

After being blasted by a score of 11-3 earlier in Game 1 of tonight’s twinbill against the Tigers, the weary Angels watched their Game 2 possibilities vanish in a destructive span of three innings as the hungry Tigers moved a half-game closer to first in the AL East with a 12-0 shutout and a doubleheader sweep at Tiger Stadium.

Veteran pitcher Al Fitzmorris made a rare start for the Angels—only his second of the season—and kept the dangerous Tigers in check for the first four innings, allowing just two hits over the span. Unfortunately, the Halos could do no better against Detroit starter Dave Rozema, and after 4½ the score remained knotted at zero.

But things fell apart for Fitzmorris (1-3) and the Angels in the fifth, when Steve Dillard (who’d been platooning at second base with Mark Wagner after Lou Whitaker’s season-long suspension) connected for a double with one out; Fitzmorris then drilled Phil Mankowski in the ribs on an inside pitch, putting two runners on for Mickey Stanley, who jumped on a Fitzmorris fastball for his 4th HR on the season and a 3-0 Detroit lead.

One inning later, with Dyar Miller now pitching for California, the first three Tiger batters connected for hits, which culminated in Lance Parrish’s three-run homer to left; two outs later, two more Tigers reached base on hits, chasing Miller from the mound in favor of Ken Brett. The next batter, lead-off man Ron LeFlore, greeted Brett with a long triple down the line, scoring two and putting the game out of reach for the Angels.

But the Tigers were far from done, scoring three more in the seventh off Brett and one more off Dave LaRoche in the eighth, the last coming courtesy of Parrish’s second hit and fourth RBI of the night. Rozema, meanwhile, had allowed only three singles through eight innings, and in the ninth walked Joe Rudi with one out before settling down and retiring the final two Angel batters for the 12-0 blanking, earning his 12th win and third shutout of ’78.

The sweep moved the Tigers to 9½ games behind the front-running Yankees in the AL East, while the Angels dropped to 16 games behind the Rangers in the West.

Game Notes

• The game was played in the afternoon at site AZ8 in Peoria, Arizona, on the living room table while I listened to the last two sides of Out of the Blue by ELO.

• Mickey Stanley, who subbed for an injured Jason Thompson at first base for Detroit in both games of the doubleheader tonight, joins teammate John Hiller as the last remaining Tigers from their 1968 World Series championship team.

• This would be the final season for Angels pitcher Al Fitzmorris, who during the actual 1978 season would play his last game on September 29th, ending his ten-year career with a lifetime record of 77-59.

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