This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: September 4

The Royals completed a four-game sweep of Milwaukee with yet another strong pitching performance, as Marty Pattin held the Brewers to five hits in Kansas City’s 6-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Royals Stadium.

Pattin’s strong effort in a spot start meant Milwaukee was limited to five runs on 16 hits in the four games. Despite not pitching since August 24, he was sharp, holding the Brewers to three hits and two walks through the first eight innings before weakening a bit in the ninth.

The Royals gave Pattin all the offense he needed in the third inning. Facing Milwaukee starter Mike Caldwell, Frank White led off with a single. White then beat the throw to second on Joe Zdeb’s grounder. With one out, George Brett singled to score White. Al Cowens followed with a single to score two more runs, and moved up to second on the throw home. A passed ball advanced him to third, and he scored on a John Wathan fly ball for a 4-0 lead.

Kansas City took advantage of two Milwaukee errors to add a run in the fifth. With one out, Brett’s grounder was mishandled by second baseman Don Money, allowing Brett to reach second. Eduardo Rodriguez replaced Caldwell and got the second out, then should have been out of the inning. But third baseman Sal Bando couldn’t handle an Amos Otis grounder, and Brett scored on the play.

The Royals’ sixth run was more traditional. Hal McRae led off the seventh with a double against new Brewers pitcher Sam Hinds. With one out, Cowens singled to score McRae for a 6-0 lead.

Pattin kept his shutout until one out in the ninth. Cecil Cooper doubled and Money homered to end the parade of zeroes on the scoreboard, but Pattin retired the next two hitters.

Despite his success, Pattin voiced frustration after the game.

“It’s tough going in there after 12 or 14 days’ rest,” he said. “You never know how your control is going to be. Let’s face it, I’d like to pitch more. I still have my pride and it hurts to be used like this.”

But manager Whitey Herzog was unapologetic.

“He’s amazing,” the skipper said. “He can really spot start and he’s always better late in the season. Two years ago he made 15 appearances from the bullpen late in the season and gave up only two runs. Next year, we’re not going to let him suit up until June 1. We might even wait until the All-Star break.”

With the win, the Royals improved to 80-54. They now held a five-game lead in the AL West, as Chicago, Texas, and Minnesota all lost. The Royals were five games clear of the White Sox, six of the Rangers, and 6.5 over the Twins.

Box score and play-by-play:

Today’s birthdays: Ken Wright (1946), Frank White (1950), Kelly Heath (1957)

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