Back home after a quick two-game trip to Chicago, the Royals used a four-run outburst in the sixth inning to pick up a 6-4 win over Detroit on Wednesday night.
Kansas City trailed 3-1 as they came to bat in the sixth. Detroit starter Fernando Arroyo had limited the Royals to an Al Cowens home run and four singles through five innings, but walked Pete LaCock to start the inning. Cowens bounced into a forceout at second, but singles by John Mayberry and Amos Otis cut the Detroit lead to 3-2. Reliever John Hiller took over for Arroyo and got Darrell Porter to ground into another forceout at second. But Freddie Patek singled to score Mayberry, and Frank White reached on an infield single, with two runs scoring when third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez threw the ball away. Suddenly the Royals had a 5-3 lead.
The Royals tacked on an insurance run in the eighth. Porter led off with a double and scored on White’s single. George Brett doubled, but White was thrown out trying to score, and Hiller got a fly ball to end the inning.
Things got worrisome for Kansas City in the ninth, though. Reliever Mark Littell had pitched a perfect eighth inning, but Ben Oglivie singled to start the ninth. With one out, Tito Fuentes reached first on shortstop Patek’s error. Littell walked Rusty Staub to load the bases. Steve Kemp hit a rocket to Cowens in right field, which turned into a sacrifice fly. Jason Thompson hit a fly ball to the deepest part of right-center field, but Otis tracked it down with his back to the infield to end the game.
Royals starter Andy Hassler was in trouble all night, some of it due to his teammates. Detroit had two men on in the first after an error and a single, and runners at second and third after a walk and a double in the third, but didn’t score. However, walks to Fuentes and Staub and a Kemp double produced two runs in the fourth, putting Detroit in front. They added a run in the fourth, as John Wockenfuss led off with a walk and Rodriguez singled. With one out, Ron LeFlore singled to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. But everything turned around for the Royals in that sixth inning.
With the win, the Royals improved to 47-38. They stood in second place in the AL West, 3.5 games behind Chicago.
Box score and play-by-play:
1977 news: New York City was hit with a massive blackout, brought on by lightning strikes and equipment failures. Almost the entire city lost power around 9:30 pm, with the Mets’ home game against the Chicago Cubs being suspended in the sixth inning and completed two months later. The blackout lasted overnight, and power was not completely restored until more than 24 hours after it was lost. With the city suffering from a heat wave, an economic downturn, and paranoia from the Son of Sam murders, conditions were ripe for problems, and widespread looting and vandalism soon followed. More than 1,600 stores were damaged, firefighters responded to more than 1,000 fires, and nearly 3,800 people were arrested.
1977 baseball news: Both leagues announced their pitching staffs for the All-Star Game. American League manager Billy Martin and National League manager Sparky Anderson were both going with eight-man staffs. For the AL, Martin selected Vida Blue (Oakland), Bill Campbell (Boston), Mark Fidrych (Detroit), Jim Kern (Cleveland), Dave LaRoche (California), Sparky Lyle (New York), Jim Palmer (Baltimore), and Frank Tanana (California). Fidrych and Tanana were both injured, so Martin would have to choose two more pitchers at some point. Meanwhile, Anderson chose Joaquin Andujar (Houston), John Candelaria (Pittsburgh), Steve Carlton (Philadelphia), Gary Lavelle (San Francisco), Rick Reuschel (Chicago), Tom Seaver (Cincinnati), Bruce Sutter (Chicago), and Don Sutton (Los Angeles).
Today’s birthdays: Jerry Terrell (1946), Pat Rapp (1967)