WHITE SOX 2, BREWERS 0
Tuesday, July 25, 1978 at Comiskey Park
Game 1304 – 6/22/13
After being whitewashed by the Brewers in the first game of their quick 2-game weekday series on the South Side yesterday, the White Sox came back with a surprising shutout of their own the following night, a 2-0 win that featured a pair of outstanding pitching performances from Rich Wortham and Ron Schueler, and a perfect 4-for-4 night at the plate by second baseman Jorge Orta, whose sixth inning single and eighth inning home run accounted for both Chisox runs.
The game remained scoreless through its first five innings as both starting pitchers—Wortham for the Sox and Lary Sorensen for the Brewers—were stingy with baserunners, allowing only three hits apiece, and in Wortham’s case, two walks. But leading off the top half of the sixth against Milwaukee shortstop Robin Yount, Wortham felt a tingling sensation in his left shoulder which, after a few pitches, became a numbing pain in his hand and wrist. After Yount singled, Chicago manager Larry Doby saw a change in Wortham’s delivery and approached the mound; after a short discussion with his pitcher, he decided to play it safe and pulled Wortham from the game, signaling Ron Schueler in from the bullpen to replace him.
Schueler’s arrival nearly proved disastrous for the Chisox as the Brewers immediately loaded the bases off the right-handed reliever, but Schueler escaped unscathed when Orta forced Yount at the plate for the second out, and right fielder Bob Molinaro made a nice play of a sinking line drive off the bat of Charlie Moore—who earlier this season rattled off a 20-game hitting streak—to close out the inning for Schueler and the Sox, keeping the game locked at 0-0.
Chicago snapped the scoring drought in their half of the sixth; after Ralph Garr opened the frame with a ground out, Molinaro followed with his only hit of the night, a single that found its way into right field past the glove of a diving Cecil Cooper at first. With 39 steals to his credit this season, Molinaro made it 40 with a swipe of second, which also drew an errant throw from Moore that allowed Molinaro to advance to third on the play. With still only one out, Orta delivered his first RBI of the evening with another single off Sorensen, sending Molinaro on a casual trot home for the 1-0 lead.
Orta struck again two innings later when, with two outs, he drove a Sorensen sinker just over the screened-in fan area at the right-center wall, a solo shot that gave Chicago a 2-0 lead and supplied the seven-year veteran with his 16th HR and 38th RBI of the season. Both numbers are currently good for second place on the Sox, behind slugging third baseman Eric Soderholm’s 17 dingers and 59 runs batted in.
Schueler then preserved the two-run advantage in the ninth, capitalizing on the over-anxious bats of Ben Oglivie, Sixto Lezcano, and catcher Moore by throwing a barrage of inside pitches, resulting in three infield dribblers—the last coming on a comebacker to Schueler—to end the game and give the Sox a 2-0 shutout win, and a split of their 2-game set with their opponents from Wisconsin. For Schueler, it was his first victory of the season, and evened his record at 1-1, while Orta saw his July batting average jump from .233 to .324 with his perfect 4-hit outing.
On Wednesday, the Sox will welcome the A’s into Comiskey for another pair of evening contests, while the Brewers will return home to County Stadium for two games against the Angels.
• The game was played at night at site AZ8 in Peoria, Arizona, on the living room table while I listened to Airborne by Don Felder.
• Wortham’s injury would prove to be a costly one for the Sox, as he would be placed on the 30-day disabled list the following day, due to a pinched nerve in his pitching shoulder, the fifth SP78 pitcher stricken with injury this season. Though the team has no logical chance of making a run for the AL West title, his 2-7 PB pitching rating—highest on the Chicago roster—at least gave his teammates a fighting chance against their opponents.
• I played this game on June 22nd to honor my friend Brent’s 50th birthday; it was the fourth time I’d played an SP78 game on the date of his birth, and the first since 2003. And lacking a slice of cake, I celebrated his 50th with a bowl of Cheez-Its instead.