This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: July 9

The Royals had one of those days as the Oakland A’s pounded them, 7-1, on Saturday night at Royals Stadium.

Kansas City picked up eight hits against A’s starter Rick Langford, but six of them were singles. They also only had one walk. Langford struck out four in his complete game.

Royals starter Jim Colborn allowed just one hit in the first three innings, but wobbled in the fourth. He retired the first two hitters, but then lost his control. He walked Wayne Gross, hit Earl Williams with a pitch, and walked Willie Crawford to load the bases. When he did throw a strike, Rich McKinney slapped it into right field for a single. All three runs scored as right fielder Al Cowens was handcuffed by the hit.

The Royals got one run back in their half of the fourth. George Brett led off with a triple and scored on a John Mayberry sacrifice fly. Although they also got a two-out double from Darrell Porter, they could not add to their total.

Oakland extended the lead in the sixth. Singles by Mitchell Page, Williams, and Crawford pushed the advantage to 4-1. That ended Colborn’s evening, and Marty Pattin got an inning-ending double play to quell the threat.

Larry Gura took over for Pattin to start the eighth, but walked Page and gave up an RBI double to Gross. Reliever Mark Littell got two outs, but a wild pitch scored Gross, who had advanced to third on a groundout. 

Oakland rounded out their scoring in the ninth, as reliever Steve Mingori surrendered singles to Rob Picciolo and Rodney Scott to start the inning. After a bunt moved the runners up a base, Larry Murray reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Gross grounded out to first, with Picciolo scoring.

With the loss, the Royals dropped to 44-37 at the season’s halfway point. They also fell to five games out of first, although they stayed in third place in the AL West.

Box score and play-by-play:

1977 news: In a classic finish, Kansas City’s Tom Watson earned his second British Open title by one stroke over Jack Nicklaus. The two started the day atop the leaderboard in Turnberry, Scotland, and matched each other stroke for stroke until the 18th hole. The two were still tied at the 17th hole, when Watson made a birdie to Nicklaus’ par. On the final hole, Watson put his tee shot in the fairway, while Nicklaus found the rough on the right side. But just when it looked like Watson had the title wrapped up, Nicklaus hit an 8-iron to the green, then made a 35-foot putt for a birdie. Watson then sank a two-footer for a matching birdie and the win. Watson finished at -12, while Nicklaus was -11, and both were at least ten strokes ahead of third-place finisher Hubert Green. It was the second major of the year for Watson, who also had narrowly topped Nicklaus at the Masters in April.

Today’s birthdays: Willie Wilson (1955), Tommy Hottovy (1981), Oscar Hernandez (1993)

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