A pair of Southern California natives keyed the Royals’ 7-2 win over the Angels on Monday night at Anaheim Stadium. Pete LaCock, born in Burbank, belted a three-run home run in the fourth inning, while Los Angeles-born Al Cowens drove in two more runs with a double.
LaCock led off the third by becoming Kansas City’s first baserunner, singling against California starter Wayne Simpson. He took second on a wild pitch and stopped at third on Freddie Patek’s single. Although LaCock was thrown out at home trying to score on Frank White’s grounder, he stayed in a rundown long enough to allow Patek to reach third and White to reach second. Patek scored on Tom Poquette’s groundout.
LaCock’s big moment came in the next inning. With one out, John Mayberry walked. With two outs, Darrell Porter also walked. LaCock then hit his second home run of the year, staking the Royals to a 4-0 lead.
Royals starter Andy Hassler, a former Angel, was in command for the first four innings before California got on the scoreboard in the fifth. With one out, Mario Guerrero walked. Rusty Torres reached on White’s throwing error. Singles from Terry Humphrey and Ike Hampton brought both runners home, cutting the Royals’ lead in half.
Kansas City got one run back in the sixth and should have had more. Mayberry led off with a double and Cowens singled. Porter greeted reliever Mike Barlow with an RBI single, although Porter was thrown out trying to reach second. Cowens was then thrown out at home on LaCock’s ground ball, and despite a wild pitch, the Royals did not add to the 5-2 lead.
At least not until the next inning. Barlow hit White with a pitch to start the inning. With one out, Hal McRae singled and George Brett walked. Reliever Paul Hartzell got Mayberry to ground into a force out at home, but Cowens delivered a two-run single, pushing the lead to 7-2.
With the win, the Royals improved to 37-34. They remained in third place in the AL West, 3.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play:
1977 baseball news: The Texas Rangers’ managerial carousel continued, as the team hired Billy Hunter away from the Baltimore Orioles’ coaching staff to run the team. Texas fired Frank Lucchesi on June 22 and named Eddie Stanky as manager. Stanky quit after one game, and the Rangers turned to coach Connie Ryan on an interim basis until they could find a (hopefully) permanent hire.
Today’s birthdays: Joe Zdeb (1953), Jeff Conine (1966), Andy Larkin (1974), Abraham Almonte (1989)