In their previous trip to Boston, back in May, the Royals were outscored 27-16 in three games, losing two of them. This game was different, but the Royals still couldn’t pick up a win, losing 2-1 in a nationally-televised game on Monday night.
Red Sox starter Reggie Cleveland, who got the nod when scheduled starter Luis Tiant arrived at Fenway Park with a stiff neck, held Kansas City to five singles and one walk while striking out five. He didn’t quite get a complete game, turning it over to Bill Campbell to get the last out when the Royals rallied in the ninth.
The Royals trailed 2-0 when they came to bat in that ninth inning. They had only had one runner reach second, and that was way back in the first inning. Two of the runners they had were erased on double plays, and one was caught stealing. Cleveland retired the first hitter in the ninth, but pinch-hitter Joe Lahoud singled. With two outs, Hal McRae did the same. Campbell entered the game seeking his 20th save, but walked Amos Otis to load the bases. He then walked Al Cowens to force in a run. But Campbell got George Brett to ground out to second, ending the game.
Royals starter Jim Colborn definitely pitched well enough to win. He scattered eight hits over 7 ⅔ innings, although he did also issue five walks. He was able to escape a bases-loaded situation in the third when Carlton Fisk’s line drive was caught by shortstop Freddie Patek. A good thing, too, because George Scott led off the fourth with a home run, giving Boston a 1-0 lead.
Kansas City’s defense helped out Colborn in the seventh. Denny Doyle led off with a single, but was forced out at second on Rick Burleson’s grounder. Colborn had Burleson picked off at first base, but made a bad throw, allowing Burleson to reach second. With two outs, Jim Rice singled to left, but Tom Poquette’s throw home cut down Burleson to end the inning.
But then the defense cost Colborn a run in the eighth. Carl Yastrzemski led off with a grounder to shortstop, but Patek couldn’t field it cleanly. Fisk bunted Yastrzemski to second, and Colborn issued an intentional walk to Scott. With two outs, Dwight Evans singled, giving Boston a 2-0 lead with a run that turned out to be the game-winner.
The Royals fell to 64-50 with the loss. Minnesota was the only one of the four teams bunched at the top of the AL West to win, so the Royals dropped to two games out of first as the Twins passed the White Sox. Chicago was a half-game back, with Texas 1.5 games out of first.
Box score and play-by-play:
1977 news: Ohio State University’s “Big Ear” radio observatory received an unusually strong radio signal from space, which lasted for the full 72 seconds their radio telescope could be pointed at the specific direction the signal was coming from. The signal was not received again. To this day, scientists have been unable to determine if the signal came from extraterrestrial beings or was a fluke of some sort. The signal has become known as the Wow! signal, due to a researcher’s note on the computer printout of the intensity.
Today’s birthday: Jarrod Dyson (1984)