This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: August 18

Dennis Leonard held the Indians to four hits, leading the Royals to a 4-0 win on Thursday night at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland.

Leonard walked one and struck out six as he improved to 13-10 on the year and dropped his ERA to 3.26. 

Meanwhile, Kansas City grabbed a quick 2-0 lead against Cleveland starter Wayne Garland. Tom Poquette smacked the first pitch of the game for a double. On the next pitch, Hal McRae tripled, and ended up scoring when shortstop Larvell Blanks made a bad relay throw. Two batters in–two pitches in–and the Royals had two runs. 

Cleveland helped the Royals add a third run in the second inning. Frank White drew a walk with one out, then beat the throw to second on Bob Heise’s grounder. Poquette hit a grounder to first, where Andre Thornton threw the ball away. White raced home to make the score 3-0.

White doubled with one out in the fourth, then scored on a Heise single. That was plenty of support for Leonard, who retired 11 of the first 12 batters, with the lone exception immediately erased on a double play. Cleveland really only came close to scoring twice. Rico Carty doubled with two outs in the seventh, but Bruce Bochte grounded out to end the inning. In the eighth, Charlie Spikes singled with one out and moved up to second on a passed ball, but Fred Kendall lined into a double play to end the inning. Leonard pitched a perfect ninth to end the game, which was played in a crisp one hour and 56 minutes.

The win lifted the Royals to 66-51. They remained in fourth place in the AL West, but just 1.5 games out of first. Texas and Minnesota both won, while Chicago had a second straight day off. That left the Rangers in first by a half-game over the Twins and one game over the White Sox.

Box score and play-by-play:

1977 news: As fans continued to mourn the passing of Elvis Presley, another tragedy struck in the early morning hours in Memphis. A drunk driver racing down Elvis Presley Boulevard in front of Graceland killed two women who were part of the hundreds keeping a vigil. A third woman was seriously injured. Elvis’ funeral was held later in the afternoon, with about 200 people in a private ceremony inside Graceland. Afterwards, 17 limos formed the funeral procession, headed past thousands of onlookers to Forest Hill Cemetery.

Today’s birthdays: Mike Ferraro (1944), Albie Lopez (1971), Josh Rupe (1982), Tony Cruz (1986)

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