This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: June 23

Seattle scored two runs in the 10th inning to earn an 8-6 win over the Royals in a back-and-forth affair on Thursday night at Royals Stadium.

Despite having pitched three innings already, reliever Mark Littell began the 10th inning on the mound for Kansas City. With one out, Dan Meyer doubled, Bob Stinson singled, and Craig Reynolds drove in the go-ahead run with a single. Larry Gura took over for Littell and got a forceout at second, but Jose Baez hit a grounder that shortstop Freddie Patek couldn’t handle. Stinson scored to give Seattle a two-run lead, and the Royals went quietly in the bottom of the 10th.

It took two batters in the first inning for Kansas City to grab the early lead. Joe Zdeb worked a walk from Mariners starter Rick Jones to start the inning. George Brett tripled to drive in Zdeb.

But Seattle answered in the second against Royals starter Andy Hassler. With one out, Meyer singled and stole second. Skip Jutze singled to tie the score.

Kansas City jumped back in front in the second. Amos Otis led off with a walk and stole second before Darrell Porter belted his sixth homer of the season for a 3-1 lead.

The Mariners cut the lead in half in the third as Baez led off with a walk. Juan Bernhardt followed with a single. Hassler got Leroy Stanton to ground into a forceout at third, but Ruppert Jones singled to drive in Bernhardt.

The score remained 3-2 until the sixth, when Seattle grabbed the lead. Jones led off with a single but was forced out at second on Bill Stein’s grounder. Hassler hit Meyer with a pitch and reliever Steve Mingori entered the game. Jutze doubled to drive in both runners, and reached third when Patek couldn’t handle the throw from left field. Reynolds put down a successful squeeze bunt, giving the Mariners a 5-3 lead.

The Royals tied it up in their half of the sixth. Reliever Diego Segui, who had pitched two scoreless innings already, gave up a single to Al Cowens. With one out, Otis doubled to score Cowens. With two outs, Patek singled to tie the game at 5-5. Patek stole second and third, but reliever Mike Kekich got the final out of the inning as Tom Poquette grounded out.

And again, the Mariners answered. Bernhardt singled with one out in the seventh. Littell replaced Mingori, but two-out singles from Jones and Stein scored Bernhardt with the go-ahead run.

Kekich pitched a scoreless seventh and got the first two batters in the eighth, but the Royals rallied again. Patek singled and stole second, and pinch-hitter John Wathan walked. Cookie Rojas delivered a clutch pinch-hit single to tie the game at 6-6. However, Rojas was thrown out trying to reach second on the hit, ending the inning. That hurt when Brett started the ninth with a single. He was ultimately stranded at second, giving Seattle the chance to win in extra innings.

With the loss, the Royals dropped back to .500 at 33-33. They were back in a three-way tie for third in the AL West with California and Texas. All three were four games back of the co-leaders, Chicago and Minnesota.

Box score and play-by-play:

1977 baseball news: The saga of the Texas Rangers’ managerial job took a bizarre turn. Eddie Stanky, who had replaced Frank Lucchesi after his firing on June 22, abruptly resigned after just one game in charge. Stanky led the Rangers to a 10-8 win in Minnesota on the 22nd, then resigned early the next morning and hopped on a plane back to Mobile, Alabama, where he had been coaching the University of South Alabama’s baseball team. Stanky cited homesickness for his change of heart. The Rangers selected third base coach Connie Ryan to be interim manager.

Today’s birthdays: None

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