We spent two nights in the funky Bronx because the Royals were in town for three games with the Yanks, and Friendly Fred bet a top sirloin steak dinner with Lester over the outcome. Fred’s been in a weird place all year, but with the blackout riots and three straight horrible games by his Bombers before finally winning yesterday, he’s become a prime candidate to ditch this coop and screw the chances of any of us getting back to the present. Meaning we had to humor him.
One thing nobody expected,though, was the games being more flat-out insane than Friendly Fred. In the style of the great old boxing matches (and inspired by a recent episode of Mad Men), here for your nostalgic pleasure is…
Friday Night at the Fights!
We got Kid Splittorff in one corner, Gorgeous Don Gullett in the other, the Yanks with an 8-4 edge so far this year. The joint is packed, but Gullett’s on the ropes early. Cowens and Brett and Mayberry and Patek and Otis and Brett again and McRae and Mayberry again all get on the bases, and guess what, folks? Not a one of ’em score, I’m talking eight left on base in the first three rounds by the K.C. boys. You couldn’t dial up a worse omen by calling Transylvania.
Clouds of cigar smoke roll over the grandstand as the bell rings for Inning 4, still scoreless, and surprise, surprise, the raging Royals go to work. Patek opens with a line double uppercutted into the gap. Otis floats a ball deep to left, Pineilla on his heels, jumps at the wall but it’s off his glove and over for as cheap a shot as this reporter’s ever seen. One out later Brett gets a free pass and McRae jabs a single. Wathan puts a left hook around the foul pole for three more runs. Porter and Mayberry rip single shots and Gorgeous Don is out of the ring for Ken Clay.
The Clay Man fares no better, folks. Joe Lahoud pinch-hits a single, Patek singles, Otis walks, Cowens skies a ball out to Blair in center who drops it for two more runs. Kenny the Hebrew Holtzman jogs in for the shell-shocked Clay, and Brett pounds him with a right, a 3-run smash to the upper deck and it’s 12-0 Royals as the bell ends the inning. A tragedy, people, a disgrace.
Except this Kid Splittorff hasn’t thrown a good one since he was in diapers, and no one bets a dime on him tonight. Good thing. Randolph doubles in a 5th inning run. Reggie homers in two more in the 6th. Cliff Johnson and Blair both with 3-run right hooks after K.C. scores three in the 7th and it’s 15-10 for the blue hat boys. Tidy Dick Tidrow’s taken the ring for the Yanks and makes a mess of things, letting Mayberry sock him for another 3-run homer and it’s 18-10 in the 8th.
Three Yank singles and another 3-run belt from “Palooka” Johnson makes it 18-14 and Mingori hits the action before Kid Splittorff is skinned alive. A walk and two singles later it’s a 2-run game, and I’ll tell ya there hasn’t been a bout like this in the Bronx since Joey Maxim battled Sugar Ray Robinson in 1952!
K.C. gets two more aboard in the 9th, gunning for 20, but two fly outs end the threat. Mingori’s got three tough customers to take care of in Rivers, Piniella and Johnson, but it’s 1…2…3…and it’s over! 34 runs and 38 hits later, the Royals are the Friday night champions!
K.C. 000 (12)00 330 – 18 20 1
NYY 000 0 1 2 760 – 16 18 3
W-Splittorff L-Gullett SV-Mingori HRS: Otis, Wathan, Brett, Mayberry, Jackson, Johnson-2 GWRBI-Otis
And Saturday Afternoon…
Revenge is a dish best served after a cold slap in the face. Four K.C. runs on five hits and two walks against Figueroa kick off the next contest, but Every-so-often Eddie gives them nothing but a single and double the rest of the way. The Yanks? Two in the 1st, two in the 2nd, two in the 3rd, two in the 5th, two in the 6th, and Jm Colborn is laying on the Stadium grass like a splattered hunk of road kill.
The rubber match on Sunday features two also-rans, just looking for a chance to not stink the place out, Al “the Strangler” Hassler vs, Mike “Choke-on-a-Chip” Torrez. Both men are scheduled to go six rounds, if they’re lucky. See you at ringside.
K.C. 400 000 000 – 4 7 1
NYY 222 022 00x – 10 12 0
W-Figueroa L-Colborn HR: Poqyette
The Friday Buzz Line
at RED SOX 8-8-0, TWINS 7-11-1
The Twins clock Wise for four runs out of the gate, then go to sleep and wait around for Boston to peck Thormodsgard, Serum and Butler to death. By the time they wake up in the 9th they’re behind 8-4 and score three runs before Soup pours cold water on their campfire. Carbo belts two more homers and now has 21 in limited action.
RANGERS 6-6-1, at ORIOLES 0-2-0
Take that, says Bert Blyleven, nearly matching Palmer’s 1-hit shutout yesterday with a 2-hitter of his own. John Ellis with two homers and four ribbis off Flanagan.
at INDIANS 9-16-1, WHITE SOX 3-10-0
Garland, who got crushed by K.C. his last time out, mows down the sadder Sox while his mates rack up 16 hits off Steve Stone, who for some reason the Yankees couldn’t hit his last time out.
CARDS 12-18-1, at PHILLIES 2-5-1
That marathon loss to the Cubs must’ve shaken up Philly, as St. Louis makes Hamburger Helper out of Christenson. Templeton with five hits in six tries, and Freeloading Roger Freed fills in for Brock and kicks in a triple, two homers and six RBIs.
at PIRATES 5-8-3, DODGERS 4-8-0
Back in the win column again, the Bucs take a 4-1 lead on Sutton, Rooker gives it up, and Taveras wins it anyway with a two-out single in the 8th. Stargell returns, but after Moreno replaces him for defense, Omar singles and steals to start the winning rally.
at REDS 1-6-1, ASTROS 0-4-0 (14 innings)
Hey look, another close road loss for Houston. Lemongello and Capilla are the starters, but both get lifted late for pinch-hitters. Bench finally wins it with a single after Rose throws himself in front of a pitch and Griffey singles. Foster goes 0-for-5 with a DP and two whiffs and the Reds still win. Scary.
at EXPOS 2-10-0, CUBS 1-6-1 (10 innings)
Best Ray Burris start in a long time, but too bad he draws Steve Rogers, who’s much better and gets the win when Cash doubles and Valentine singles in extras.
The Saturday Buzz Line
at RED SOX 6-13-0, TWINS 2-9-1
Fergie Jenkins goes to 10-3, Rice breaks a 2-2 tie with a homer off Zahn, and the rolling Red Sox do what they do. Boston goes two and a half games up again as they get ready for their next trip out west.
RANGERS 5-5-0, at ORIOLES 2-6-1
Texas hops in front of the Birds again in the Great Flake-Off, Dock Ellis vs. Rock Grimsley. Baltimore ties it 2-2 in the 8th, but DeCinces strands men at second and third, then boots a ball leading off the 9th, right before Ellis smacks another winning homer.
at INDIANS 8-12-1, WHITE SOX 4-7-2
And the Tribe is out of last place, passing the Twins with another great outing from Bibby and the usual Chicago butterfingers in the field.
CARDS 4-12-0, at PHILLIES 0-6-1
Seven straight wins for St. Louis, as Urrea puts the Phillies in another coma, and everyone in the Cards lineup gets a hit off Ron Reed. Once again, it’s a 5-team race.
DODGERS 4-16-1, at PIRATES 0-7-0
Tommy John is amazing again, and goes to 13-5 as the teams split the first two games. Baker and Garvey go back-to-back early off Reuss, and Steve adds three more hits, but I’ll believe he’s out of his slump when I see it.
at REDS 5-8-0, ASTROS 0-5-0
Tom Seaver against Gene Pentz? Please.
at EXPOS 6-12-1, CUBS 4-8-1
Chris Speier and Wayne Garrett with three hits apiece as Brown beats Krukow in a pretty uneventful and meaningless game, but some people do need to know everything.
American League through Saturday, July 19
National League through Saturday, July 19