This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: September 24

With the AL West title clinched, the Royals rested the regular starting lineup. But, with the help of five errors by the California Angels, Kansas City still took a 4-3 win on Saturday afternoon at Anaheim Stadium.

Royals starter Mark Littell struggled through the first inning, walking Jerry Remy and then committing a balk to move Remy to second. After a walk to Carlos May, Bobby Bonds singled to drive in Remy for a 1-0 lead.

The Royals couldn’t take advantage of California errors in the first and third innings, but Cookie Rojas reached on third baseman Dave Chalk’s miscue to start the fourth. Angels starter Balor Moore got the next two hitters and it looked like he might be able to offset his team’s mistakes again. But Bob Heise and U L Washington hit back-to-back triples, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead.

Don Baylor tied the game up again with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Royals were soon back in front. In the fifth, Joe Zdeb singled with one out. John Wathan doubled, with Zdeb stopping at third. Rojas singled to score Zdeb, although Wathan was thrown out at the plate. 

The Royals added another unearned run in the sixth. Heise led off with a grounder to third, which Chalk couldn’t handle, allowing Heise to reach second. After a sacrifice bunt by Washington, Willie Wilson singled to give the Royals a 4-2 lead.

Littell pitched through the seventh before passing the baton to Steve Mingori for the eighth. With one out, Ron Jackson doubled. With two outs, May singled to score Jackson and cut the lead to 4-3. Doug Bird took over for Mingori, and despite walking Bonds, retired Baylor to keep the Royals in front. Bird then pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 13th save of the season.

With the win, the Royals improved to 97-55. It was also the sixth straight win for Kansas City, who had a 10.5-game lead in the AL West.

Box score and play-by-play:

Today’s birthdays: Norm Angelini (1947), Hubie Brooks (1956), Scott Leius (1965), Kevin Koslofski (1966), Paul Spoljaric (1970)

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