Unbothered by giving up six runs in the third inning, the Royals rallied for their eighth straight win, a 10-7 win over the Mariners on Wednesday night at the Kingdome in Seattle.
Things looked good for Kansas City after the first two innings. The Royals started the first inning with singles by George Brett, Hal McRae, and Joe Lahoud, all against Mariners starter Glenn Abbott. That produced one run, and Al Cowens grounded into a forceout at second to score a second run.
Darrell Porter led off the second with a home run to increase the Royals’ lead to 3-1. With two outs, Frank White singled and stole second. After Brett walked, McRae’s single brought in White for a 4-1 lead.
Hassler got through the second unscathed, but not the third inning. Larry Cox drew a walk to start the inning. Brett committed a throwing error on Collins’ grounder, and Cox made it to third. A passed ball brought Cox home. Hassler got the next two hitters, but Leroy Stanton doubled to drive in Collins. Hassler hit Bill Stein with a pitch in the shoulder; X-rays later revealed a hairline fracture. That meant pinch-runner Larry Milbourne was on first base. Juan Bernhardt singled, scoring Stanton and tying the game at 4-4. Larry Gura replaced Hassler but Dan Meyer doubled to drive in both runners. Jimmy Sexton singled to score Meyer, and Seattle had a 7-4 lead before Gura retired Cox for the final out.
Mariners reliever Bill Laxton, who retired three straight to end the third without a run scoring after Lahoud doubled and Cowens singled to start the frame, was shakier in the fourth inning. Freddie Patek led off with a double and White walked. Reliever Enrique Romo took over, only for Brett to single to load the bases. Romo drilled McRae with a pitch, forcing in a run. Lahoud hit a sacrifice fly for another run, and Cowens grounded out to score another run and tie the game at 7-7.
Porter hit another leadoff home run to start the fifth, putting the Royals on top. Romo struck out the next two hitters, but a White single and Brett double gave Kansas City a 9-7 lead.
The Royals tacked on one more run in the seventh. Porter began the inning with a single but was still on first with two outs. White and Brett both singled to score Porter for a 10-7 lead.
Mark Littell took over for Gura to start the fourth and pitched three hitless and scoreless innings, only allowing one walk. Doug Bird pitched the final three innings to notch his 11th save, although Collins and Baez singled with one out in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate. Bird got Jones on a fly ball and Stanton on a grounder to end the game.
With the win, the Royals improved to 83-54. They stayed in first place in the AL West, with a 5.5-game lead over Chicago.
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1977 news: President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos signed a treaty that would give control of the Panama Canal to the country of Panama, effective on December 31, 1999.
1977 baseball news: The Royals’ Class AAA affiliate in Omaha saw their season come to a disappointing end as they lost the best-of-seven series for the American Association title to the Denver Bears (Montreal’s Class AAA affiliate). Omaha won the first two games of the series, but Denver won the next four games for the title. Still, four Omaha players were named to the league’s 14-player All-Star team after the season ended: third baseman Dave Cripe, catcher Craig Perkins, and outfielders Clint Hurdle and Willie Wilson. The O-Royals won 36 of 45 games at one point and finished with a 76-59 record to win the East Division by 4.5 games over Cincinnati’s farm team, Indianapolis.