The work the Royals did in sweeping the Chicago White Sox over the weekend was partially undone as they lost a doubleheader to the California Angels on Monday at Royals Stadium. The Angels built big leads in both games on their way to 6-4 and 7-2 wins.
California battered Royals starter Andy Hassler for five hits and four runs in the second inning of game one, knocking him out of the game. Ron Jackson led off with a single and took third when he was picked off first and set sail for second, but shortstop Freddie Patek couldn’t handle the throw. With one out, Dave Chalk drew a walk. Then, four straight Angels collected RBI singles: Mario Guerrero, Rance Mulliniks, Terry Humphrey, and Gil Flores. After Jerry Remy walked, Mark Littell took over for Hassler and was able to stop the merry-go-round with strikeouts of Bobby Bonds and Jackson.
But the damage was done. The Royals were down 4-0 and facing Nolan Ryan, who did not allow a hit until the sixth. California added a run in the fifth as Bonds singled, took second on a groundout, then reached third on a balk and scored on Littell’s wild pitch.
Kansas City did get a run in the fifth thanks to Ryan’s wildness, as he walked the bases loaded and then hit Hal McRae with a pitch. In the sixth, Al Cowens started the inning by reaching on an error. Ryan walked John Mayberry, his seventh walk of the game. Both runners moved up on a groundout and Darrell Porter ended the no-hit bid with an RBI single. Patek added a sacrifice fly to cut California’s lead to 5-3.
The Angels tacked on a run in the eighth after the Royals left the bases loaded in the seventh, with Dave LaRoche escaping that jam by striking out Amos Otis and getting John Wathan to groundout. Facing reliever Larry Gura, Chalk led off with an infield single and stole second. He scored on a Humphrey double.
Kansas City answered with a run in the bottom of the eighth. Patek led off with a single and scored when McRae tripled with two outs. But Pete LaCock lined out to shortstop. The Royals got a leadoff double from Cowens in the ninth, but LaRoche retired the next three batters to end the game.
In the second game, the Angels scored two runs each in the first, fifth, and seventh innings as they coasted to the win. Facing Royals starter Paul Splittorff, Flores led off the game with a double, then scored when Jackson doubled with two outs. Don Baylor added an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.
Then in the seventh, Flores led off with another double, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Guerrero singled and Bonds homered, and the Angels had a 6-0 lead.
California starter Wayne Simpson held the Royals to four hits in the first seven innings. George Brett led off the eighth with a single and LaCock singled with one out, ending Simpson’s outing. Reliever Dyar Miller walked Cowens to load the bases. Mayberry hit a sacrifice fly before Miller walked Otis and Porter to force in a second run. But Tom Poquette struck out to end the inning with the Royals still down, 6-2. The Angels added a run in the ninth thanks to errors by Brett and Porter.
The two losses dropped the Royals to 61-47. They also fell to fourth place in the AL West, although they were still only three games behind Chicago. Minnesota was a game out of first and Texas moved to 2.5 games back as they passed the Royals in the standings.
Box score and play-by-play (game one):
Box score and play-by-play (game two):
1977 baseball news: The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held in Cooperstown, New York. Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks headlined the class, joined by Martin Dihigo, John Henry Lloyd, Al Lopez, Amos Rusie, and Joe Sewell. Dihigo and Lloyd were selected by the Special Committee on Negro Leagues, and Lopez, Rusie, and Sewell were selected by the Veterans Committee. Dihigo became the first Cuban to be inducted.