For Baltimore’s home opener, the Royals were gracious guests, letting their hosts build a 10-0 lead en route to a 12-2 win at Memorial Stadium.
The Orioles tagged Royals starter Dennis Leonard for seven runs (six earned) and eight hits in five innings. Baltimore scored one run in the first inning, then extended the lead to 4-0 in the second. Mark Belanger drove in one run with a single, and then two runs scored when Frank White committed a throwing error on a potential inning-ending double play.
Leonard held Baltimore scoreless for the next two innings, but surrendered one run in the fifth. And when Gary Roenicke led off the sixth with a single and Rick Dempsey homered, Leonard’s afternoon was done. Baltimore added three more runs in the inning, all charged to Steve Busby, who was still attempting to come back from rotator cuff surgery in 1976.
The beneficiary of all this offense was Baltimore starter Jim Palmer. The veteran knew how to handle a big lead and limited the Royals to two singles through the first six innings. Kansas City doubled that output when Hal McRae and Willie Aikens singled to start the seventh; Pete LaCock’s grounder scored McRae and ended the shutout.
The only other run the Royals managed came on George Brett’s home run in the eighth. Baltimore answered that with a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth, as Ken Singleton homered off Renie Martin.
George Brett watch: 1-4 with the home run. Season stats: .278/.350/.444
Boxscore and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL198004150.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Billy Brewer (1968), Paul Phillips (1977)