This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: March 17

Spring training is for fundamentals, and Baltimore’s Doug DeCinces demonstrated his understanding of them, starting a game-ending double play on a bunt to preserve the Orioles’ 2-1 win over the Royals in Fort Myers.

With runners at first and third and one out, Kansas City’s Bob Heise put down a bunt. While catcher Dave Skaggs called for DeCinces to throw to first, the third baseman decided to try for a double play after seeing Heise hesitate out of the batter’s box. The gambit worked, and the game was over.

Both teams’ starters pitched well, as Baltimore’s Ross Grimsley scattered four hits over five innings and Kansas City’s Jim Colborn held the Orioles to one hit in five innings. Baltimore scored the game’s first run in the sixth, on a Billy Smith triple and Skaggs fly ball. They increased their lead to 2-0 in the seventh on an Eddie Murray single and Larry Harlow double.

The Royals cut the lead in half in the eighth. Dave Nelson doubled and scored on a Hal McRae single, one of three hits in the game for McRae. But that was as close as the Royals could get, thanks to DeCinces’ quick thinking.

Today’s birthday: Scott Downs (1976)

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