The Royals dropped the first game of a brief two-game road trip to face the division-leading White Sox in Chicago, losing 4-2 on Monday night at Comiskey Park.
Chicago got all the runs they needed in the first inning against Royals spot starter Larry Gura. Ralph Garr and Alan Bannister started the inning with singles. Jorge Orta doubled to drive in both runners. A groundout and Chet Lemon’s fly ball brought Orta home for a 3-0 lead.
The Royals quickly got one run back against Chicago starter Francisco Barrios. Pete LaCock started the second with a single and scored on an Amos Otis double. But Barrios recovered to strike out the next two hitters and finish the inning with a popup, keeping Chicago ahead 3-1.
Kansas City loaded the bases in the fourth but didn’t score. They managed to pick up a run in the fifth, though. With one out, Hal McRae was hit by a pitch. He stole second and scored with two outs on a John Mayberry single.
Barrios shut the Royals down after that, though. Kansas City could only manage two singles the rest of the way, while Barrios struck out six after the Mayberry single as he finished a complete game. Barrios racked up 10 strikeouts in his ninth win of the year.
The White Sox added an insurance run in the sixth. Shortstop Freddie Patek committed an error on Eric Soderholm’s grounder to start the inning. With one out, Brian Downing singled, advancing Soderholm to third. Gura uncorked a wild pitch, scoring Soderholm to give Chicago a 4-2 lead. Gura left the game with the bases loaded and one out, but reliever Doug Bird got a double play to keep the Royals in it. Bird would retire all seven batters he faced, but the Kansas City offense was overwhelmed by Barrios.
The loss dropped the Royals to 45-38. They also fell to five games behind Chicago, although they stayed in third place in the AL West.
Box score and play-by-play:
1977 baseball news: The California Angels, having a disappointing 39-42 season after an offseason spending spree, fired manager Norm Sherry and appointed third base coach Dave Garcia to the top job. Sherry had taken over the Angels at midseason in 1976. The Angels also hired Frank Robinson, recently fired as Cleveland’s manager, to be the hitting coach, and the team also fired pitching coach Billy Muffett, temporarily replacing him with former catcher Andy Etchebarren. The Angels became the third AL West team to change managers in 1977, following Oakland and Texas.
1977 baseball news: MLB announced the National League’s starters for the All-Star Game, set for July 19 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Seven of the eight starters had previously been elected by the fans. The only new face was Pittsburgh outfielder Dave Parker. He joined Phillies outfielder Greg Luzinski and Reds outfielder George Foster. The infield included overall leading vote-getter Steve Garvey at first base; Garvey became the first player since fan voting was re-introduced in 1970 to garner four million votes. Garvey and his Dodger teammate, third baseman Ron Cey, would flank two players from their NL West rivals, the Cincinnati Reds: second baseman Joe Morgan and shortstop Dave Concepcion. Catcher Johnny Bench made it four Reds players in the starting lineup.
Today’s birthday: Blaine Boyer (1981)