This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: April 24

The Royals split a Sunday doubleheader, winning a 16-1 laugher in the first game before dropping a 4-2 decision in the second game against the Mariners at the Kingdome in Seattle.

Despite the lopsided score in the first game, it was a close contest for five innings. Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the third as Frank White singled with two outs. George Brett followed with a single, and Mariners starter Gary Wheelock issued walks to Hal McRae and Tom Poquette to force in a run.

Kansas City added four runs in the sixth. McRae and Poquette started the inning with singles. John Mayberry reached on a fielder’s choice when second baseman Larry Milbourne tried for the forceout at second, but Poquette was safe and the bases were loaded. Amos Otis hit a sacrifice fly before Al Cowens cracked a three-run home run.

The game got out of hand in the seventh as the Royals put up six more runs. White reached on an error to start the inning. Reliever Tommy Moore took over for Wheelock, but was ineffective. White stole second and took third on a groundout. McRae singled to score him. With two outs, Mayberry and Darrell Porter both walked to load the bases. Otis singled to score one run. A wild pitch scored another, with Cowens then getting hit by a pitch to load the bases again. Freddie Patek doubled to clear the bases, although he was thrown out at third trying for a triple. But with the Royals now ahead 11-0, there was little to be worried about.

The onslaught continued in the eighth, as White led off with a double and scored on a Brett single. McRae singled, as did Joe Zdeb, driving in a run. With one out, Mariners pitcher David Segui committed a balk, scoring McRae from third to make the score 14-0.

McRae would double in the ninth for the final two runs. The beneficiary of all this offense was Royals starter Jim Colborn, who breezed through eight innings, allowing just five hits. He struck out nine and walked two. About the only mistake he made was in the eighth, when Craig Reynolds led off with a home run.

The Royals should have saved some of those runs for the second game. They failed to take full advantage of Seattle starter Frank MacCormack’s wildness; in just three innings, he walked four batters, hit two more, and threw two wild pitches, although he didn’t allow any hits.

Seattle took the lead in the first, as Paul Splittorff issued a one-out walk to Carlos Lopez. Juan Bernhardt singled and reached second as Lopez got caught in a rundown between second and third. Leroy Stanton’s single scored Bernhardt.

Kansas City tied the score in the third, as Brett led off with a walk. McRae was hit by a pitch. A fly ball advanced Brett to third, and he scored on a wild pitch.

After MacCormack walked Cowens to start the fourth, reliever John Montague took over. Cowens was picked off, and with two outs, Patek walked and White singled. Brett’s double scored Patek, with White stopping at third. Montague managed to get the red-hot McRae out to end the inning.

Stanton tied the game with a leadoff home run in the sixth. Stein followed with a single, and Splittorff walked Joe Lis. The Royals nearly escaped the inning with the score tied, but with two outs, Reynolds and Baez hit consecutive run-scoring singles and the Mariners took a 4-2 lead.

Montague worked around Poquette’s two-out triple in the seventh, retiring the last seven hitters in a row to seal the win for Seattle.

With the split of the two games, Kansas City’s record stood at 9-6. They were in third place in the AL West, but only a half-game out of first.

Box score and play-by-play (first game):
https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SEA/SEA197704241.shtml

Box score and play-by-play (secpnd game):
https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SEA/SEA197704242.shtml

Today’s birthday: Carlos Beltran (1977)

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