The Royals set up another showdown with the division-leading White Sox with an 8-0 thumping of Toronto on Thursday night at Royals Stadium.
Following a four-game series in Chicago in which the Royals lost three games despite holding a lead, Kansas City prepared for their last three games of the season with the White Sox by drawing six walks and pounding out 12 hits, including four doubles and a home run. Meanwhile, starting pitcher Larry Gura made sure the bullpen was rested by scattering nine hits in a complete-game shutout. Gura only struck out three but did not walk a batter.
The Royals grabbed the lead in the second inning. Facing Toronto starter Jesse Jefferson, John Mayberry doubled to start the inning. With two outs, Freddie Patek hit his third home run of the season. Frank White doubled, and George Brett singled for a 3-0 lead.
Jefferson’s control deserted him in the third, as he walked Al Cowens, Mayberry, and Amos Otis with one out. Mike Willis replaced Jefferson on the mound but issued another walk, this one to Darrell Porter to force in a run. Patek hit a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to 5-0.
Kansas City then added single tallies in the fourth, fifth, and seventh innings. Brett started the fourth with a double, then stole third and scored on a Pete LaCock groundout. The Royals should have had more than one run in the fifth, as Mayberry started the inning with a double and Otis singled. Patek hit a sacrifice fly with one out, and Bob Heise doubled, but Jerry Johnson took over for Willis and retired Brett on a fly ball to end the inning. And in the seventh, Otis walked with one out, and two-out singles by Patek and Heise gave the Royals their final 8-0 margin.
While Gura only had two perfect innings (the third and the ninth), the Blue Jays only had one runner reach second base and one reach third base. Those came in the same inning, as Al Woods singled with one out in the seventh and Hector Torres followed with a double. But Gura got a popup and a groundout to end the inning.
The Royals improved to 58-45 with the win. They stayed in third place in the AL West, 4.5 games behind Chicago. The White Sox beat Texas, so the Royals moved a game ahead of the Rangers in the standings. Minnesota was 3.5 games behind Chicago.
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1977 news: President Jimmy Carter signed legislation creating the Department of Energy, adding a cabinet-level agency to the government for the first time since 1967. The department was formed in response to the 1973 oil crisis and other shortages that were prevalent at the time. The department was slated to begin operations on October 1.