The Royals continued their home run derby in Seattle, belting five more in a 7-2 win over the Mariners on Thursday night at the Kingdome.
This home run barrage gave Kansas City 12 home runs in the four-game sweep, with the Royals outscoring Seattle 35-13. Darrell Porter, in particular, definitely enjoyed facing the expansion team as he hit two home runs for the second night in a row, upping his season total to 15.
Kansas City’s first roundtripper of the night came in the third, when Hal McRae belted his 18th of the year, this one off Seattle starter John Montague with two outs and no one on. Porter increased the Royals’ lead to 2-0 with a solo home run leading off the fourth.
Seattle answered with one run in their half of the fourth. Royals starter Dennis Leonard hit Leroy Stanton with a pitch with one out. Steve Braun singled, and reached second when the throw went to third, albeit too late to catch Stanton. Leonard struck out Bob Stinson for the second out and could have been out of the inning, but third baseman George Brett couldn’t handle a Julio Cruz grounder. Stanton scored, although left fielder Joe Lahoud made a good throw home to nail Braun for the third out.
The Royals got the lead back up to two runs in the fifth. Brett led off with a walk and McRae was hit by a Montague pitch. With one out, Al Cowens singled, scoring Brett, with McRae taking third. John Mayberry hit a fly ball to left fielder Dave Collins, who threw home in time to get McRae for the final out. McRae ended up spiking catcher Stinson when he slid, and the backstop needed eight stitches on his right hand.
The score remained 3-1 until the bottom of the sixth, when Ruppert Jones hit a solo home run with one out. But the Royals got the run right back when Frank White started the seventh with a home run. Porter repeated his fourth-inning feat with a home run to start the eighth, this one off Mariners reliever Rick Honeycutt, increasing the KC lead to 5-2. The Royals added two more runs in the ninth, as Cowens drew a walk from Seattle reliever Greg Erardi with two outs, and Mayberry hit his 21st home run of the year.
Leonard finished off the complete game with three strikeouts in the ninth, working around a single and a double. That gave him 10 strikeouts for the game as he held the Mariners to six hits and two walks. Leonard picked up his 16th win of the season.
The win was the ninth in a row for the Royals, who suddenly found themselves seven games ahead of second-place Chicago after the White Sox were swept by California in a doubleheader. Kansas City now owned an 84-54 record.
Box score and play-by-play:
1977 news: In New York City, incumbent mayor Abraham Beame finished third in the Democratic primary to Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo, meaning his term was coming to an end. Koch and Cuomo advanced to a runoff election, to be held on September 19. Voters blamed Beame for the city’s financial woes and rapidly increasing crime, with the blackout and resulting looting back in July a prime example.
Today’s birthday: Gil Meche (1978)