The Royals’ struggles continued as they dropped a 9-5 decision to the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium in Minnesota.
The game started off well for Kansas City. Facing Twins starter Geoff Zahn, Amos Otis walked with two outs in the first and stole second. Al Cowens homered for the 17th time on the year and the Royals had a 2-0 lead.
But Royals starter Jim Colborn struggled with his control in the bottom of the inning. Rod Carew doubled with one out, and two-out walks to Lyman Bostock and Glenn Adams loaded the bases. Colborn balked to let Carew score before walking Larry Hisle, but escaped when Dan Ford hit a fly ball to center field.
Colborn kept the Twins off the board in the second, but Minnesota took the lead for good in the third. Butch Wynegar started the inning with a walk, followed by Bostock’s ninth home run of the season for a 3-2 lead.
Minnesota expanded the lead in the fifth. Wynegar again started a rally, this time with a single. He made it to third on a wild pitch and a groundout, then scored on Adams’ double. With two outs, Ford and Jerry Terrell collected back-to-back RBI doubles, pushing Minnesota’s lead to 6-2. Reliever Mark Littell finished out the inning with a strikeout.
The Royals got back in the game in the sixth. Hal McRae led off with a home run, his 14th of the season. Otis and Cowens followed with singles. With two outs, Darrell Porter drew a walk from reliever Tom Johnson, loading the bases. Pinch-hitter Pete LaCock came through with a two-runs single, and the inning ended with the Royals down 6-5.
But more walks hurt the Royals in the bottom of the sixth. Littell issued free passes to Roy Smalley and Carew to start the inning. With one out, Bostock singled to drive in one run, and Adams hit a sacrifice fly to score another. Just like that, the Royals were back down by three runs. The Twins added an unneeded insurance run in the eighth when Wynegar singled and Bostock doubled.
The loss was the fourth in five games for the Royals, who dropped to 56-44. They fell into third place in the AL West behind the Twins; Kansas City was 5.5 games behind Chicago; the Twins now stood 4.5 games back.
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1977 news: Francis Gary Powers, who became internationally known when his U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles. Powers, who had spent almost three years in a Soviet prison before the U.S. and U.S.S.R. agreed on a prisoner exchange, was piloting a helicopter for TV station KNBC. Powers and cameraman George Spears had been covering wildfires in Santa Barbara and were returning to the airport in Burbank when the helicopter ran out of fuel. Powers was apparently preparing for a safe emergency landing at Sepulveda Dam Recreational Area when he spotted children playing; his last-second adjustment to avoid them caused a loss of control. A report after the crash indicated that Powers had reported the fuel gauge as faulty; it would show the helicopter was out of fuel when there was actually enough for 30 more minutes of flying. The gauge may have been repaired without Powers’ knowledge.