This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: October 7

The Royals moved to within one win of a World Series berth, as Brooklyn native Dennis Leonard held New York to four hits in Kansas City’s 6-2 win on Friday night at Royals Stadium.

Leonard caught a small break in the first inning, when Roy White doubled with one out. Left fielder Hal McRae bobbled the ball, and White headed to third, but McRae’s throw was just in time to record the out on a very close play. Leonard followed that with 12 straight outs.

Kansas City picked up single runs in the second and third innings against Yankees starter and Topeka native Mike Torrez. With one out in the second, Joe Lahoud drew a walk. Darrell Porter and Freddie Patek followed with singles to score the first run. In the third inning, Hal McRae led off with a double. George Brett followed with an infield single. An Al Cowens groundout brought McRae home for a 2-0 lead.

New York cut the lead in half when Graig Nettles snapped Leonard’s streak of outs with an infield single with two outs in the fifth inning. Lou Piniella doubled to score Nettles, but Leonard got a grounder from Willie Randolph for the final out.

The Royals tacked on a run in the bottom of the fifth. McRae led off with a double, and grounders from Brett and Cowens brought him around to score for a 3-1 lead.

Then Kansas City blew the game open in the sixth. Lahoud led off with another walk, and Porter reached on an infield single. Patek bunted the runners up a base, but Frank White’s fly ball was too shallow for Lahoud to score. Sparky Lyle took over for Torrez, who was not happy with manager Billy Martin’s decision. Amos Otis, who had been benched after going 0-8 in the first two games of the series, delivered a pinch-hit double for a 5-1 advantage. Otis stole third as well, but was stranded there.

However, the Royals added one more insurance run in the seventh, as Brett led off with a single and scored on a John Mayberry double.

The Yankees came up with one run in the ninth. They had been held hitless since the Piniella double in the fifth, but White doubled again with one out. With two outs, Reggie Jackson hit a grounder to first, but Mayberry couldn’t come up with it. White scored on the error, but Leonard finished the game with a Chris Chambliss grounder.

The win gave the Royals a 2-1 lead in the best of five series. Kansas City just needed to win one of the next two games at home to head to the World Series.

Box score and play-by-play:

1977 baseball news: Down to their last out, the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to squeak past Philadelphia, 6-5, in Game Three of the NLCS. A bunt single by pinch-hitter Vic Davalillo started the rally. Manny Mota hit a line drive to deep left field that Philadelphia’s Greg Luzinski couldn’t quite catch. Davalillo scored on the play when second baseman Ted Sizemore couldn’t hang on to the throw from left. Davey Lopes singled to tie the game, and then reached second on a wild pickoff throw by Gene Garber. Bill Russell singled to give the Dodgers the lead, and a stunned Phillies team went quietly in the ninth. The win gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead in their series, with a terrific pitching matchup set for Game Four: Tommy John for the Dodgers and Steve Carlton for the Phillies.

Today’s birthdays: Jose Cardenal (1943), Rudy Law (1956), Enrique Burgos (1965), Kris Medlen (1985)

One thought on “This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: October 7

  1. Amos Otis was interviewed after the game, and despite being benched, was upbeat after delivering a key pinch-hit. He reminded the Royals’ radio announcers that his initials were AO, which, he said, in this case stood for “Added Opportunity” and “Always Outstanding.”
    It was the last win for the 1977 Royals, still the best team in franchise history. Dang!

    Liked by 1 person

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