This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: May 4

The White Sox used a pair of two-run home runs in the late innings to pick up a 6-3 win over Kansas City on a Wednesday night at Royals Stadium.

Royals starter Jim Colborn returned to the mound for the eighth inning with the score tied at 2-2. He got one out, but Oscar Gamble singled and Chet Lemon smashed a long home run to put the White Sox ahead. The home run was estimated at 475 feet, and it was believed to be the first one to reach the water spectacular in left-center field since the stadium opened in 1973.

The Royals fought back in the bottom of the eighth. Amos Otis singled with one out in the inning, then reached second on a groundout. Freddie Patek singled to score Otis and draw KC within one run, but pinch-hitter Pete LaCock flied out to end the threat.

In the ninth, Chicago added insurance runs against reliever Mark Littell, who had finished out the eighth. Richie Zisk singled with one out, and Gamble homered with two outs to put the White Sox up by three.

Colborn was not at his sharpest on this night, but he escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second with no runs scoring. The Royals returned the favor when they loaded the bases against Chicago starter Steve Stone in the third, but John Mayberry grounded out to end the inning.

Chicago took the lead in the third when Alan Bannister doubled and Zisk singled. The Royals took the lead themselves in the fifth. Reliever Bart Johnson took over for Stone after the third inning and retired five straight hitters. George Brett broke the streak with a triple, then scored when third baseman Jack Brohamer couldn’t handle Hal McRae’s grounder. Tom Poquette walked and Mayberry singled for a 2-1 lead.

Colborn was wild on this night, walking four and hitting a batter. That HBP came in the sixth, putting Lemon on first. He moved up to second on a groundout and scored the tying run on Jim Essian’s single. Two innings later, Lemon got his revenge.

With the loss, the Royals dropped to 13-10 on the season. They were in third place in the AL West, although still just a game out of first.

Box score and play-by-play:

1977 news: There was a tornado outbreak southeast of Kansas City during the afternoon. Two people were killed in Pleasant Hill. Another person died along the roadside between Harrisonville and Pleasant Hill; he had spotted a tornado ahead while driving and got out of his vehicle, but apparently suffered a heart attack. Another twister hit Sedalia; no one there was killed but about 55 homes were destroyed and another 500 or so suffered damage. Things could have been much worse; the Pleasant Hill storm took a path between two fully occupied school buildings and the Sedalia one just missed another school. Later that evening, another tornado began on the Kansas side, south of Lawrence. This one just missed Baldwin City and thankfully lifted back into the sky before it got to Olathe. But it did touch down again a few times as it moved along 135th Street before finally dissipating southeast of Kansas City.

1977 news: Former president Richard Nixon had been out of the public spotlight ever since he resigned from office due to the Watergate scandal in 1974. But he agreed to a series of recorded interviews with British journalist David Frost, who paid Nixon $600,000 for the privilege. Nixon apparently assumed the interviews would be beneficial to him, giving him a chance to restore his image. But after the first broadcast, on this date, drew a record (for a political interview) 45 million viewers, polling showed most people who watched felt he was still trying to cover up his involvement. 

Today’s birthdays: None

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