This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: July 30

The Royals couldn’t hang on to a 3-0 lead, as the White Sox scored all of their runs in their last three at-bats in Chicago’s 6-4 win on Saturday afternoon at Comiskey Park. 

Kansas City’s advantage came from single runs in three different innings. George Brett led off the game with his eighth home run of the season, off White Sox starter Francisco Barrios. But the Royals could only manage two singles between that and the top of the fifth. Amos Otis started that inning with a double. With one out, Freddie Patek also doubled, scoring Otis for a 2-0 lead.

Hal McRae and Pete LaCock began the sixth inning with singles. Al Cowens hit a popup to short center field; second baseman Jorge Orta tracked it down and was able to double up LaCock at first base. John Mayberry rescued the inning for the Royals with a double to score McRae for a 3-0 lead.

Royals starter Paul Splittorff was walking a tightrope nearly all afternoon. The White Sox had two runners thrown out at home in the first inning, left runners at second and third in the second, and had two runners on in the third. They finally broke through in the sixth. Chet Lemon started the inning with a walk, followed by an Eric Soderholm single. Splittorff walked Brian Downing to load the bases. Reliever Larry Gura entered the game and got the first out on a popup, then gave way to reliever Doug Bird. After another popup, the Royals were nearly out of another jam. But Orta singled, scoring two runs, before Gura struck out Richie Zisk to end the inning.

Chicago kept the pressure on in the seventh. Oscar Gamble singled to start the inning. With one out, Lemon singled. Soderholm then put the White Sox in front with a three-run home run off Bird.

The White Sox added a run in the eighth on an Orta home run, also off of Bird. The Royals did put together a rally in the ninth. With one out, Otis and Darrell Porter singled, finally chasing Barrios from the game. Relief pitcher Lerrin LaGrow got the second out, but Joe Lahoud delivered a pinch-hit single to score Otis. Brett came to the plate with the tying runs on base, but Chicago’s Dave Hamilton got him to pop up, ending the game.

The Royals dropped to 55-42 with the loss. They remained in second place in the AL West, although they were now tied with Minnesota. Both teams were 5.5 games behind the White Sox.

Box score and play-by-play:

Today’s birthdays: Pat Kelly (1944), Clint Hurdle (1957), Mike Jones (1959), Jesse Hahn (1989)

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