This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: July 14

Frank White drove in three runs, leading the Royals to a 4-3 victory over Detroit on Thursday night at Royals Stadium.

White raised his average 16 points with six hits in the two-game series. However, his first RBI of the night came on a groundout. The Royals trailed 1-0 when they came to bat in the second, after Jason Thompson homered off Kansas City starter Jim Colborn in the top of the inning. Joe Zdeb led off with a walk from Tigers starter Bob Sykes, and Freddie Patek singled with one out. The two runners pulled off a double steal, and White grounded out to shortstop, allowing Zdeb to score the tying run.

White gave the Royals the lead in the fourth. One-out singles from Darrell Porter and Patek preceded White’s RBI single. Patek and White then pulled off another double steal. George Brett’s fly ball scored Patek for a 3-1 lead.

Detroit got one run back in the fifth. Singles from Ron LeFlore, Rusty Staub, and Steve Kemp cut the Royals’ lead to 3-2. Colborn was able to retire Thompson on a popup to end the inning.

But Ben Oglivie led off the top of the sixth with a double, and reliever Larry Gura took over for Colborn. Gura walked Milt May, then retired the next three hitters to preserve the lead. 

White delivered for the Royals again in the bottom of the inning. Zdeb led off with a single but was forced out at second on Porter’s grounder. With two outs, White tripled to give the Royals a 4-2 lead.

Gura retired 10 of 11 hitters following the walk he issued to May, but LeFlore homered with two outs in the ninth to cut Kansas City’s lead to 4-3. Tito Fuentes struck out but reached first on a wild pitch, but Gura got Staub on a fly ball to center to end the game, earning his seventh save of the year.

With the win, the Royals improved to 48-38. They remained in second place in the AL West, 3.5 games behind Chicago.

Off the field, the Royals placed infielder Dave Nelson on the 15-day disabled list and recalled outfielder Joe Lahoud from Class AAA Omaha.

Box score and play-by-play:

1977 baseball news: The American League reserves for the All-Star Game were announced.. Manager Billy Martin selected catchers Thurman Munson (New York) and Butch Wynegar (Minnesota), infielders George Scott (Boston), Ron Fairly (Toronto), Don Money (Milwaukee), Bert Campaneris (Texas), Graig Nettles (New York), and outfielders Fred Lynn (Boston), Jim Rice (Boston), Ken Singleton (Baltimore), Larry Hisle (Minnesota), and Ruppert Jones (Seattle). Also, to replace injured pitchers Mark Fidrych and Frank Tanana, Martin chose Detroit first baseman Jason Thompson and California pitcher Nolan Ryan, who said he would not go to the game as a second choice. All of that meant the only Royal scheduled to be in New York for the game would be third baseman George Brett, who was voted in as a starter by the fans. The biggest snub for KC was probably outfielder Al Cowens, who was hitting .298/.338/.518 with 14 home runs, plus excellent defense, through games of July 13.

Today’s birthdays: Juan Rios (1942), J.C. Gutierrez (1983)

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