This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: August 5

John Mayberry hit for the cycle, leading the Royals to a 12-2 romp over the White Sox in the first of a key three-game series on Friday night at Royals Stadium.

Mayberry, who had been battling a bad back that limited him to DH duties in this game, singled in the Royals’ five-run second inning, led off the third with a home run, picked up a triple in the fourth, and doubled in the eighth. He became the second Royal to accomplish the feat, joining teammate Freddie Patek, who had done it in 1971.

A crowd of 38,075 turned out for the showdown against the AL West leaders. Chicago had taken three of four games from the Royals in Comiskey Park the previous weekend, with rowdy crowds on all three days (there was a doubleheader in there) seeming to intimidate the Royals a bit. Kansas City fans returned the favor, cheering loudly and summoning their heroes from the dugout for curtain calls, a Chicago fan habit that had irked some Royals players. They had plenty of chances to do so on this night, as Kansas City hitters belted four home runs.

After a quiet first inning, Mayberry kicked off the Royals’ big second inning with his single off Chicago starter Chris Knapp. Amos Otis and Darrell Porter launched back-to-back home runs. Patek singled and stole second, then advanced to third when George Brett singled with one out. Hal McRae produced an RBI single to finish Knapp’s evening, and Pete LaCock greeted reliever Bart Johnson with an RBI single for a 5-0 lead.

The White Sox got one run back in the top of the third, as Jack Brohamer led off with a double. Royals starter Dennis Leonard retired the next two hitters, but Ralph Garr singled to score Brohamer.

But the Royals picked up three more runs in their half of the third. Mayberry hit his 17th home run to start the inning. Otis, Porter, and Patek all followed with singles for another run. Bob Heise singled to load the bases, and after Brett grounded into a forceout at home, McRae hit a sacrifice fly for an 8-1 lead.

Despite the lopsided score, there was still some drama to be had. Of course, Mayberry was three-quarters of the way to his cycle after his triple in the fourth, but Porter started two “incidents.” Mayberry was thrown out at home on an Otis grounder back to the mound for the second out of the fourth, and Porter hit a ground ball towards right field that was snared by second baseman Jorge Orta. Porter ran over Johnson, who was covering first and recorded the putout. The two men had words and the benches emptied, although nothing of substance happened. It was a play that even Porter’s manager disapproved of.

“He was wrong,” Whitey Herzog said. “He’s just an excitable guy and gets so wrapped up. There was no call for him doing what he did.”

Porter may have objected to White Sox first baseman Jim Spencer running him over on a play at the plate that ended the fourth. 

Things calmed down until the start of the seventh inning. Johnson had just completed a scoreless sixth inning and waited for Porter to return to his position for the top of the seventh. This time, the two players had a shoving and punching match, and both were ejected.

The Royals removed any doubt about the outcome with three runs in the seventh. Otis reached on shortstop Tim Nordbrook’s error to start the inning. Porter’s replacement, Buck Martinez, bunted Otis to second. With two outs, Heise reached on an error by Orta, with Otis scoring. Brett followed with a two-run home run for an 11-1 lead.

Orta homered to start the eighth, but an Al Cowens single and Mayberry’s double in the eighth offset that tally. Leonard retired the White Sox in order in the ninth to finish his 11th win of the season.

The win lifted the Royals to 59-45. They closed to within 3.5 games of Chicago in the AL West race, although they remained in third place with Minnesota just 2.5 games behind the White Sox.

Box score and play-by-play:

Today’s birthday: Nelson Briles (1943)

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