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First impressions can be deceiving. After tripling against Yankee Pitcher Ron Guidry in the first inning, Sundberg tells Hunter that the lefthander is not throwing as well today as he did last week. Wrong. Guidry is pitching better. Sundberg's triple and Bert Campaneris' single in the seventh are the only hits the Rangers get, and they lose 1-0.
Hunter does not consider it a coincidence that a black cat appears in the dugout midway through the game, especially when he sees how the Yankees score their run. With one out in the sixth, Graig Nettles lifts a ball toward right center. Rightfielder Tom Grieve backs to the wall and is prepared to make the catch when Centerfielder Beniquez streaks in front of him and leaps. The ball glances off Beniquez' glove, and Nettles winds up at third. One out later, Reggie Jackson loops Dock Ellis' 3-0 pitch off his fists and into short center to drive in the game's sole run. It is only the fifth hit off Ellis, but the damage is done.
As disappointing as the loss is to the Rangers, there is an even more troubling fact. The weekend is over, the season is four games closer to the end, and the Rangers are two games farther from first place than they were Thursday morning.
"Don't let anyone in here," Twins Equipment Manager Ray Crump hollers at Clubhouse Guard Bob Sharkey as the Minnesota players file up the tunnel and into the locker room. After a 20-minute wait the writers are allowed into the clubhouse, where they find Mauch's office door half-closed. Behind it is a pile of shattered glass. "We've got to get home and get turned around," he says, dressing quickly to get the bus to the airport for the flight to the Twin Cities. "It's there for us to win for ourselves. If we are a championship club, then we'll beat the other three contenders in the next month. But we can't get too far behind."
In two series in New York and Boston, the Twins have gone 1-4 and dropped three games in the standings. This afternoon they started out playing like the 140th Street playground team. Then they rallied from a 4-1 deficit to lead the Red Sox 5-4, only to lose 6-5 on Carl Yastrzemski's single and a save by former Twin Bill Campbell. He got Carew to fly out and Bostock to strike out to end the game.
A few players pick over the spread of fried chicken and hamburgers in the clubhouse after the doors are opened. One even manages a half-hearted joke. No one laughs.
Carew is one of the last to come out of the shower. Pulling on a pair of bikini briefs that have BASEBALL'S BEST imprinted on them, he says, "I don't care that I got two hits yesterday and today, because two days in a row I've gone out in the middle of ninth-inning rallies. I'm down, and I'm tired. Dead tired. My hands are slow, and I really hate these days when it's 212�. I tried to go to the movies last night and relax. I couldn't. It's been a long trip."
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