Still playing baseball's sweetest summer music, the rat-a-tat-tat of line drives, Rod Carew of the Minnesota Twins did his favorite number again tonight - a triple and a single in five at-bats, maintaining his 411 batting average.
But the boom-boom drummer of Chicago White Sox outfielder Richie Zisk drowned out Carew's performance. First time up, Zisk hit a home run 430 feet. Next time, a home run 420 feet. The guy's a one-man percussion section.
Zisk's homers produced five runs and the Sox, with pither Chris Knapp scattering nine hits, best the Twins. 5-2, to move two percentage points ahead in their race for first place in hte American League's West Division.
The crowd of 35,709 was moved to bliss by Ziek's show, cheering their hero's every move, even his swining third strikes his last two times at bat. When he came to the plate, someone in left field hung out a banner saying, "Pitch at Rick to Rick Zisk."
The Twins hurler, Dave Goltz, found the risk fatal.
The Twins staked Goltz to a 1-0 lead in the first on tripples by leadoff man Lyman Bostock and Carew.
But Alan Bannister started the first for the Sox with a bunt single and Jorge Orta follwed with a double, bringing up Zisk, the former Pirate who had hit only six of his previous 17 homers at Comiskey Park.
So frustrated was the big guy, he even measured the fences to see if it were really only 375 feet to left center. It wasn't, it was 385.
Goltz first pitch to Zisk wound up in the right-center field seats, a drive so high, so far the lumbering Zisk was nearly to second before he threw up his arms in trumphant celebration.
In the third, Orta led off with a single. Minnesota left fielder Larry Hisle played Zisk nearly perfectly this time, lined up in left-center giving him all the line. And Zisk hit it straight toward Hisle.
Only it was 50 feet over his head. The ball banged off the upper-deck facade.
Carew, meanwhile, cracked a single to left for his second hit of the night, his fourth in a row, his 10th in his last 15 at-bats, his 27th in his last 42 at-bats (only sports writers with advanced math degress may cover Twins).
When Knapp, who also beat the Twins a week ago on an eight-hitter, stopped Carew's latest streak-within a-streak on a ground out to the first baseman, the customers cheered as if it they had been allowed to watch the impossible done.
Carew later grounded out to first again and ended the game with a popup to second base.