The Royals were held to three hits in a nondescript 4-1 loss to California on Saturday night at Royals Stadium.
Angels starter Mike Barlow, typically a reliever (in fact, this was his first start of the season), allowed two singles in seven innings. He did walk two batters but also struck out five. The Royals did not get a hit until George Brett singled with one out in the fourth, and he was immediately doubled off first on John Mayberry’s line drive to right field.
Two batters into the game, California had the lead. Bobby Bonds led off with a triple against Royals starter Andy Hassler, and Jerry Remy’s groundout gave the Angels a 1-0 advantage. California added two singles in the inning and a wild pitch, but Hassler was able to escape. However, Rusty Torres hit a solo home run in the second to give Barlow all the run support he would need.
California added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Dave Chalk started the fourth inning with a double, and Gil Flores reached on a bunt single. Although Hassler got a double play ball from Thad Bosley, Chalk scored the Angels’ third run. Ike Hampton led off the fifth with a home run, pushing the California lead to 4-0.
Kansas City’s lone run came in the seventh. Clint Hurdle led off with a single and Brett drew a walk. Mayberry grounded out to first, with Hurdle and pinch-runner Bob Heise moving up a base. Al Cowens grounded out, scoring Hurdle. But Barlow got the last out of the inning, and Dave LaRoche pitched two scoreless innings to finish off the game.
The Royals dropped to 101-60 with the loss, but still had their eight-game lead in the AL West.
Box score and play-by-play:
1977 baseball news: At last, the Royals officially knew their opponent for the ALCS. After losing two games with a chance to clinch the AL East, the New York Yankees became division champs while waiting out a rain delay in Detroit. That’s because Boston lost to Baltimore. Even though the Yankees ultimately lost this contest, they remained two games ahead of the Red Sox and Orioles with just one game left in the season. That meant the playoff matchups were set: Kansas City and New York in the American League and Philadelphia and Los Angeles in the National League. The Dodgers were the only one of the four that had not been in the 1976 postseason.
Today’s birthdays: John Schuerholz (1940), John Thomson (1973)