The first game of a highly anticipated four-game series between the Royals and the Texas Rangers had only one battle: Texas pitcher Gaylord Perry over the Kansas City offense in a knockout, as the visitors won 2-0 at Royals Stadium.
Following the teams’ May 7 brawl in Arlington, and some public statements by the Rangers that things may not be settled, many fans wondered if there would be further unpleasantness. But in this game, the only unpleasant thing was the Royals’ offense. Perry held KC to four hits and two walks while striking out five. The Royals only managed to reach third base twice.
Texas picked up three singles in the first inning against Royals starter Dennis Leonard to score their first run. Bert Campaneris singled with one out, and Willie Horton and Dave May singled with two outs for a 1-0 lead.
Jim Sundberg led off the fourth with a single, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on Claudell Washington’s one-out double, giving Texas a 2-0 lead.
With Perry on top of his game, that was more than enough. Kansas City had two men on with one out in the third, but Tom Poquette and Hal McRae both hit harmless fly balls to end the inning. McRae doubled with one out in the sixth, but Al Cowens grounded out and John Mayberry struck out. Kansas City had one more chance in the eighth, as Pete LaCock delivered a pinch-hit double with one out. But Perry got Poquette and McRae again, this time on a pair of ground balls.
Leonard also pitched a complete game, although he allowed 11 hits. He only walked one and picked up six strikeouts. Ten of the 11 hits were singles.
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Royals, who fell to 15-15. They were in fifth place in the AL West, four games out of first.
Box score and play-by-play:
1977 baseball news: The Atlanta Braves snapped their 17-game losing streak, although it took their third manager in three days to do it. Following owner Ted Turner sending manager Dave Bristol on a 10-day “scouting trip” and taking over the job himself, NL president Chub Feeney invoked a league rule that prohibited owners from also managing their team (the rule was enacted after Connie Mack retired from managing his Philadelphia A’s). Feeney also said that Turner’s conduct was not in the best interests of the game. Turner shot back, “They must have put that rule in yesterday. If I’m smart enough to buy the team, I ought to be smart enough to manage it.” But the ruling stood, and third base coach Vern Benson oversaw Atlanta’s 6-1 win over Pittsburgh.
Today’s birthdays: Bob Heise (1947), Travis Dawkins (1979)