This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: April 17

John Mayberry’s eighth-inning home run snapped a 5-5 tie, leading the Royals to a 6-5 win over Detroit on a Sunday afternoon at Royals Stadium.

Mayberry’s blast came against Tigers starter Dave Roberts, and was the first home run hit by a Royal in Kansas City this season. It was also the big first baseman’s second homer of the year, both off Roberts.

Each team enjoyed a big first inning. Detroit jumped on Royals starter Andy Hassler for three runs to start the game. Ron LeFlore led off with a double and scored on a Tito Fuentes single. With one out, Rusty Staub homered for a 3-0 lead.

The Royals answered with some help from the Tigers defense. George Brett led off with a double, giving him an eight-game hitting streak, or every game so far this season. With one out, Amos Otis hit a grounder to Tom Veryzer, who misplayed it. Brett scored on the error. Mayberry singled, advancing Otis to third. Al Cowens grounded into a forceout, with Otis scoring. Cookie Rojas kept the inning alive with a single, and Buck Martinez doubled to drive in both runners and put the Royals ahead, 4-3.

Hassler did pitch a perfect second inning, but escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third and was removed from the game after singles by John Wockenfuss and Aurelio Rodriguez started the fourth. Reliever Marty Pattin, seeing his first action of the season, got a grounder to Brett at third, but Brett could not field it cleanly and the bases were loaded again. LeFlore hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game, but Pattin struck out the next two hitters.

Kansas City jumped back in front in the fifth, as Hal McRae, hitting .400 through the first eight games, led off with a triple and scored on an Otis fly ball. Detroit tied it up again in the eighth, as Staub greeted new Royals pitcher Larry Gura with a triple and scored on a Jason Thompson fly ball. That set up Mayberry’s home run heroics in the bottom of the inning. Gura walked a batter leading off the ninth before Mark Littell retired the side in order to pick up the save.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Royals and lifted their record to 5-3.

Box score and play-by-play:

Today’s birthday: Dennis Paepke (1945) 

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