This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: August 26

Hal McRae and Dennis Leonard led the Royals to their 10th straight win, a 3-2 win over the Orioles on Friday night at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.

McRae turned the game around with a great defensive play to end a Baltimore rally in the second, then homered in the third to tie the game, as Kansas City went on to score the eventual winning run that inning as well.

Leonard pitched a complete game, allowing just six hits, three of them in that second inning. He struck out seven and walked two as he picked up his 14th win. Leonard outdueled Orioles starter Jim Palmer, who gave up seven hits and four walks while striking out six.

The Royals grabbed the lead in the first. Tom Poquette led off with a single and reached second on a wild pitch. McRae followed with a walk, but George Brett grounded into a forceout at second. Al Cowens singled to score Poquette. Brett reached third on the play but was then thrown out trying to score on John Mayberry’s grounder, and Kansas City had to settle for a 1-0 lead.

Baltimore’s offense was all in that second inning. With one out, Andres Mora singled and Doug DeCinces walked. Singles by Mark Belanger and Dave Skaggs produced two runs. Al Bumbry hit a fly ball towards left field, where McRae was playing shallow. McRae was never considered a defensive wizard, but he made a nice running catch on this ball, then made a strong throw home to cut down Belanger trying to score, and the inning ended with Baltimore only ahead, 2-1.

McRae followed that up with his 17th home run of the season to start the third. Brett walked and Cowens singled to put runners on the corners. Mayberry bounced into a double play, but Brett was able to score the go-ahead run.

The Orioles threatened to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the inning, as Ken Singleton walked and Lee May singled with one out. But Leonard got Eddie Murray on a grounder, then struck out Mora to end the inning. Baltimore would not have a runner reach second base the rest of the game, as Leonard would allow just one more hit and retired 16 straight hitters to end the game.

The Royals set a new franchise record with their 10th win in a row. They now were 74-51 on the season and remained in first place in the AL West. They held a three-game lead on Chicago and Minnesota and four games on Texas.

Box score and play-by-play:
https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL197708260.shtml

Today’s birthdays: Chad Kreuter (1964), Ricky Bottalico (1969), Jayson Nix (1982), Maikel Franco (1992)

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