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Old 05-14-2019, 04:48 AM   #21
webrian
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Game 57, Monday June 13, 1977 ~

At New York

Royals 9, Yankees 5

WP: Jim Colborn (8-2, 3.84); LP: Ron Guidry (7-5, 2.27)

Sometimes the last thing you want is exactly what you need.

Al Cowens blasted a no-doubt-about-it grand slam home run (his 11th) in the top of the third inning and the reeling Royals somehow routed Ron Guidry and the 1977 Yankees in Yankee Stadium on Monday Night Baseball (anyone remember MNB?).

Jim Colborn turned in a fine outing by long-haired 1977 American League standards. He allowed 3 runs on 9 hits with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts over eight innings. The Yankees got an oh-by-the-way 2-run homer from Reggie Jackson (his 15th) in the ninth off Greg “Gas Can” Shanahan.

Kiko Garcia went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs and a run scored.

***
Game 58, Tuesday June 14, 1977 ~

At New York

Yankees 4, Royals 1

WP: Ed Figueroa (9-2, 3.03); LP: Steve Renko (4-4, 5.33)

With several key players resting their tired bones, the Royals didn’t put up much of a fight in a ho-hum loss at Yankees Stadium.

George Brett, Hal McRae and Darrell Porter had the day off. Three other starters had to play anyway, though their batteries were also running low. John Mayberry cracked a solo homer (his 13th) in the top of the first inning, but KC mustered only four singles the rest of the way.

The Yankees took the lead for good when Graig Nettles yanked a 2-run homer just past the RF foul pole in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Now we get a day off to get some NYC sightseeing done. Then it’s back to the park on Thursday afternoon for the rubber game with the pinstripers.

***

Game 59, Thursday June 16, 1977 ~

At New York

Royals 11, Yankees 1

WP: Dennis Leonard (4-3, 2.49); LP: Dock Ellis (6-2, 2.59)

Shocker, right? The Royals needed a win, and once they got the lead, they went after it with gusto. But also … the Yankees played like they just didn’t care. They committed 3 fielding errors, walked 8 Royals batters and managed just 3 hits.

Leonard pitched a complete game, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits. He struck out 10 and walked none. But again, it felt like the Yankees just weren’t into it.

In the first inning, Darrell Porter scored from FIRST on a Hal McRae double to RF. It’s not hard to imagine Yankees manager Billy Martin having words for star slugger/RF'er Reggie Jackson after that. Later in the game, Reggie dropped a fly ball on the warning track, allowing another run to score. So did CF’er Mickey Rivers in an earlier inning.

Some poor NYC-area bar patron is gonna be in the wrong stool at the wrong watering hole tonight when Billy Martin comes out of the drunken stupor just long enough to realize he's been insulted by somebody, somewhere.

Al Cowens hit his 12th homer in the game. George Brett got his 9th. New York’s Reggie Jackson hit his 16th.

Now we head back to Kansas City for a 7-game homestand against Minnesota and Seattle.

CURRENT RECORD: 31-28 (4th, 10.5 games behind Texas)
REAL-LIFE RECORD: 28-31 (6th place, 7 games behind Minnesota)

AROUND THE LEAGUE:



As you can see from the insert, the New York Yankees have powered out to a 5.5-game lead in the AL East. They are claiming their destiny. Second-place Baltimore has regained its footing after a fairly lengthy slump. Further down, the Red Sox are languishing in 6th place, 14 games back … In the AL West, Texas is running away. The Rangers have the best record in baseball (41-17) and their pursuers — KC Royals included — are still spinning their wheels … Over in the NL East, the Cubs have slipped from their perch and the Pirates are now in the lead. The St. Louis Cardinals, who were one game back of the first-place Cubs in late May, have taken the dive, losing 9 of 10 and their last 5 in a row … The Phillies have yet to sort themselves out, but there’s plenty of time … In the NL West, the Dodgers are still in control, and the Atlanta Braves are still the worst team in baseball.

Last edited by webrian; 05-14-2019 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:11 PM   #22
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Game 60, Friday June 17, 1977 ~

Royals 11, Twins 8

WP: Paul Splittorff (4-5, 4.59); LP: Roger Erickson (2-4, 6.56)

The hitters picked Splittorff up in this one. Hal McRae went 3-for-3 with 3 doubles, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored in addition to a walk and a HBP. Amos Otis cracked a 3-run homer (his 10th) in KC’s 6-run first inning. The Royals piled up just enough runs to to survive an 18-hit onslaught by the Twins, who left 12 runners stranded.

Rod Carew went 4-for-6 with 2 runs and 3 RBI. Craig Cusick and Bob Randall had 3 hits apiece. Larry Hisle had 2 hits and 3 RBI, including a 2-run homer — No. 3 for him.

Despite the win, we fell to 11 games back of the Rangers, who swept Seattle in a doubleheader, 12-2 and then 4-3.

Tomorrow, we’ll start Jim Colborn (8-2) against a 22-year old nobody named Bill Harris (0-3, 6.17 ERA), who pitched only 8 innings in AAA before getting called up to replace one of the Twins’ two injured starters.

***

Game 61, Saturday June 18, 1977 ~

Royals 12, Twins 5

WP: Jim Colborn (9-2, 4.02); LP: Bill Harris (0-4, 6.87)

It didn’t look so good in the top of the first inning when Twins’ young catcher Butch Wynegar jacked a Colborn fastball 413 feet over the CF wall for a 3-run homer (his 3rd).

But the quivering, unprepared 22-year old LHP the Twins stuck on the mound this Saturday night couldn’t hold that lead. KC LF’er Hal McRae had a double, a triple and drove in 4 runs. SS Kiko Garcia went 3-for-4 with a 3-run HR (his 1st) and 5 RBI!

Al Cowens also had a triple and a double for KC.

***

Game 62, Sunday June 19, 1977 ~

Twins 2, Royals 0

WP: Jeff Holly (1-0, 6.85); LP: Steve Renko (4-5, 5.03); Sv: Tom Johnson (10, 1.76)

For the second game in a row, the Twins started some unkown lefty plucked from the farm system to replace injured aces Dave Goltz and Geoff Zahn. The Royals couldn’t wait to pounce.

But over the course of 2 hours and 42 minutes, KC went from licking its chops to licking its wounds. The gawky 6-5, 215-pound Holly threw 7 innings of 6-hit, shutout ball. The only extra baser he allowed was a 1-out double to Al Cowens in the second inning. Cowens tried stretching it into a triple and was thrown out by about 3 feet. The next inning, Holly picked off Amos Otis leaning off first base. Holly finished with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks.

Tom Johnson allowed just one hit over the last 2 innings to nail down his 10th save, filling the Royals with enormous envy. We don’t have a closer — and it’s killing us.

Larry Hisle and Glenn Adams had RBI singles in the first and eighth innings to account for Minnesota’s 2 runs.

***
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:23 PM   #23
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Game 63, Monday June 20, 1977 ~

Royals 19, Mariners 2

WP: Marty Pattin (3-1, 5.50); LP: Vern Ruhle (3-7, 5.90)

The Mariners were already thin on pitching after playing 4 games in 3 days down in Texas. Then starter Vern Ruhle couldn’t get past the third inning, and the Royals went into burn-&-pillage mode.

Star 3B George Brett swatted a pair of homers (his 10th & 11th), including a line-drive solo shot to right to snap a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the third. Three hitters later, 1B John Mayberry absolutely CRUSHED a 3-run blast (No. 14) 420 feet into the fountains to make it a 6-2 lead and send Ruhle to the showers. It got worse for Seattle after that.

The Mariners had to call on two position players — 18 year-old RF’er Dave Henderson & 23 year-old infielder Juan Bernhardt — to get them through the eighth and ninth innings.

Royals starter Marty Pattin allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits over 7 innings to nab the easiest win of his unremarkable OOTP career.

***

Game 64, Tuesday June 21, 1977 ~

Royals 4, Mariners 2

WP: Dennis Leonard (5-3, 2.43); LP: Rick Honeycutt (3-6, 4.76)

On the first official day of summer, Dennis Leonard went the distance, allowing just 2 runs on a Bill Stein single in the top of the eighth inning.

Frank White and Hal McRae went a combined 5-for-9 with a pair of runs scored at the top of the lineup, and Kiko Garcia went 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored at the bottom of the lineup.

The good news: We’ve finally crawled up into second place in the AL West.

The bad news: We’re still 10 games behind those damned Texas Rangers.

***

Game 65, Wednesday June 22, 1977 ~

Royals 3, Mariners 2 (14 innings)

WP: Steve Mingori (2-2, 5.74); LP: Dick Pole (2-3, 6.00)

John Mayberry drew a full-count, bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the fourteenth inning to lift the Royals on a night when several starters rested — and the ones who played weren’t productive at the plate.

George Brett, Hal McRae and Mayberry went a combined 0-for-16 in the contest, but part-timers like Tom Poquette, Rico Carty and Clint Hurdle went 8-for-18.

The Mariners got a 2-run homer by Leroy Stanton (his 15th) in the first inning and couldn’t scratch even one more run across the plate after that. KC starter Paul Splittorff went seven and two-thirds, allowing 2 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Then the bullpen — Doug Bird, Mark Littell, Larry Gura and Steve Mingori combined for 6.1 innings of scoreless ball — but of course it was wobby at times; the Mariners got 8 baserunners against the KC pen, but couldn’t bring them around.

Expansion teams, amirite?

***

Game 66, Thursday June 23, 1977 ~

Royals 3, Mariners 2

WP: Jim Colborn (10-2, 3.86); LP: John Montague (7-6, 3.77)

It took an outfield-assist double play in the ninth inning, but the Royals hung on.

Jim Colborn went the distance for his 10th win and sixth complete game of the season, but it wasn’t easy. The Mariners took a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning. John Mayberry gave the lead right back to KC with a 2-run single in the bottom of the sixth.

The Royals took a 3-1 lead to the top of the ninth, but Seattle came for it immediately. Ruppert Jones led off with a double, Bill Stein singled, and then Steve Braun bounced a single through the left side of the infield, scoring Jones as speedy Jimmy Sexton (pinch-running for Stein) went from first to third. Suddenly, KC’s lead was down to 3-2 and the Mariners had runners at the corners with nobody out.

If we had a closer, Colborn wouldn’t have come out for that ninth inning. After watching him give up three hits to three consecutive batters, I needed somebody to bring in and save this win. But I trust none of them, not with the game on the line. So Colborn would have to be his own closer.

With the infield in, Colborn got Craig Reynolds to ground out as Steve Braun moved from first to second. Sexton stayed at third.

Jose Baez came next. Colborn got him to pop a fly ball into medium center field. CF’er Amos Otis caught it and fired a laser beam to C Darrell Porter. On a bang-bang play at the plate, the Royals got the call and the win.

We went 7-1 on this homestand — and didn’t pick up a single game on Texas. Now, with no rest, we hit the road for a 12-game road trip beginning with a brutal West Coast swing; 4 games in 3 days at Oakland, then three more at California.

CURRENT RECORD: 37-29 (2nd place, 10 games behind Texas)
REAL LIFE RECORD: 33-33 (In a 3-way tie for 3rd place, 4 games behind Minnesota)

***
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:05 PM   #24
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Game 67, Friday June 24, 1977 ~

At Oakland

Athletics 5, Royals 3

WP: Vida Blue (7-5, 3.57); LP: Steve Renko (4-6, 4.97); Sv: Bob Lacey (7, 5.40)

The A’s pounced on Steve “wreck it” Renko for five runs in the first two innings and LHP Vida Blue made it stand up. Because that’s what aces do.

Renko did what Renko does. In the first inning he yielded 3 walks, 2 singles, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. In the second, he walked the No. 9 hitter, then yielded a opposite-field 2-run homer to 18 year-old Ricky Henderson, who had walked, stolen second and scored just the inning before.

Renko settled down nicely after that, but the Royals couldn’t get out of the hole he dug.

***

Game 68, Saturday June 25, 1977 ~

At Oakland

Royals 6, Athletics 2

WP: Marty Pattin (4-1, 5.08); LP: Doc Medich (6-8, 3.52)

Marty Pattin turned in another strong start, limiting the Athletics to 2 runs on 5 hits over 6.2 innings. Relievers Mark Littell and Rich Gale took it home from there, with help from some nice late offense.

Al Cowens thwacked a solo homer (13) in the top of the sixth to snap a 1-1 tie. The Royals went on to add 4 more runs, two of them on a 2-run triple by Tom Poquette in the top of the eighth. Poquette is now batting .303 with 18 doubles, 10 triples and 30 RBI, mostly hitting in the No. 2 slot between Frank White (.328) and George Brett (.331).

This Ricky Henderson kid is a pain in the behind. He went 2-for-5 with a run scored, an RBI and a stolen base.

Got a doubleheader tomorrow.

***
Game 69, Sunday June 26, 1977 ~

At Oakland

Royals 4, Athletics 2

WP: Dennis Leonard (6-3, 2.41); LP: Bill Lacey (3-4, 5.73); Sv: Mark Littell (3, 6.61)

This first game of a daytime doubleheader started at 10:05 a.m. Both teams seemed groggy, but by the end, some exciting baseball took place.

The Royals scored 3 runs in the top of the ninth inning to take the lead. John Mayberry singled home Al Cowens to tie the score 2-2. Then with 2 outs, Kiko Garcia lined a 2-run double to the LF corner to put KC on top.

Of course, the bottom of the ninth brought stress. Doug Bird gave up a 4-pitch leadoff walk to Rickey Henderson, then departed with an injury, diagnosis pending. Fortunately, Mark Littell came in and got three quick outs to end it.

Frank White hit a solo home run (No. 3) to tie the score 1-1 in the top of the third.

***

Game 70, Sunday June 26, 1977 ~

At Oakland

Athletics 4, Royals 3

WP: Stan Bahnsen (3-6, 5.89); LP: Paul Splittorff (4-6, 4.43); Sv: Doug Bair (1, 6.75)

With George Brett and Hal McRae sitting this one out, the Royals couldn’t muster enough offense to beat Stan Bahnsen and his 6-plus ERA.

They almost did. Al Cowens ripped a 2-run triple in the top of the eighth inning to cut a 3-0 A’s lead to 3-2. But in the bottom of the eighth, Tony Armas banged a 1-run triple off the high wall in centerfield to make it 4-2.

John Mayberry launched a 421-foot solo homer (No. 15) to right with one out in the top of the ninth.

On to Anaheim to face to the Angels. We are still 10 games behind the Rangers.

Doug Bird suffered a sprained elbow. He will miss about a month. He was our only halfway consistent reliever. We called up 21 year-old outfielder Willie Wilson to fill Bird’s spot on the roster. Wilson’s got no stick and his fielding needs work, but he’s got blazing speed, so he might be a help in pinch-runner situations.

***
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:24 PM   #25
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Game 71, Monday June 27, 1977 ~

At Anaheim

Royals 5, Angels 3

WP: Larry Gura (1-3, 4.08); LP: Sid Monge (2-2, 4.33); Sv: Mark Littell (4, 5.40)

This might have been our most satisfying win of the season.

George Brett, Hal McRae and John Mayberry rested, so it was a jumbled lineup that faced Angels’ starter Paul Hartzell, who came in with a 6-5 record and a respectable ERA just over 4.00. KC’s Jim Colborn (10-2) was going for his 11th win, knowing offensive support would be scarce.

Colborn left after 6 innings with the Royals trailing 3-0. He yielded 3 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits and 3 walks, with 1 strikeout. A comeback win would be up to a shaky bullpen and an uneven lineup missing three of its top five hitters.

Everything fell into place. Kiko Garcia and Frank White hit doubles in the seventh inning as KC rallied for 2 runs to close within 3-2. Then in the top of the ninth, the bottom of the jumbled lineup managed to work the bases loaded with one out against Angels’ left-handed reliever Sid Monge. But then up came Tom Poquette, a left-handed hitter who doesn’t hit lefties well.

He lashed a bases-clearing double all the way to the LF-CF gap — his second double of the game and 20th of the season to go with 10 triples. I don’t know where this team would be without Poquette.

In the bottom of the ninth, I had no choice but to turn to Mark Littell, whose arm was still a bit tired from the series in Oakland. He did walk a batter, but then got Jerry Remy to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.

All told, relievers Larry Gura, ‘Gas Can’ Shanahan and Littell combined for 3 innings, 1 hit, 4 walks and 1 strikeout. Most importantly, 0 runs allowed.

Also, the Rangers LOST at Oakland. So we finally picked up a game; only 9 back now.

***

Game 72, Tuesday June 28, 1977 ~

At Anaheim

Royals 10, Angels 7

WP: Rich Gale (1-1, 4.18); LP: Gary Ross (6-7, 6.50); Sv: Gas Can Shanahan (3, 6.25)

The Royals’ hitters picked up the weary pitching staff.

Of Kansas City’s 10 hits, four were homers and two were doubles. Al Cowens and John Mayberry each slammed 3-run homers to make the biggest impact; it was No. 14 for Cowens and No. 16 for Mayberry. Darrell Porter hit a 435-foot solo shot to deepeest centerfield for his 15th and Hal McRae hit a 2-run jack in sixth, No. 4 on the season for him.

Steve Renko pitched on three days’ rest and would have gotten the win if his arm had lasted past the fourth inning. But after 88 pitches he was in the black and the Angels had runners at first and second with nobody out in the fifth.

Rich Gale pitched 2.2 innings to earn the win and Gas Can Shanahan went the final 2.1 innings to earn his third save, and his first since the season-opening series against Detroit. But it was shaky all the way: KC pitchers issued 8 walks and got only 2 strikeouts. The Angels hit two homers (Rance Mulliniks’ 7th & Bobby Grich’s 15th) and three doubles.

We picked up yet another game on the Rangers, who lost to Vida Blue and the A’s in Oakland. We’re now 8 games back.

***

Game 73, Wednesday June 29, 1977 ~

At Anaheim

Royals 7, Angels 5

WP: Marty Pattin (5-1, 5.11); LP: Wayne Simpson (3-2, 5.43); Sv: Larry Gura (3, 4.15)

With half the lineup weary from a long string of games with no break, the Royals managed to put together just enough timely hits and timely outs to finish off a sweep of the Angels in Anaheim.

Tom Poquette got it started with his first home run of the season, a 2-run blast over the wall in right-centerfield in the top of the third inning. He went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI to lead the offensive effort. Catcher Darrell Porter banged a 2-run double to CF but injured himself sliding into the base. His diagnosis is pending, so it looks like a fourth regular will join LHP Andy Hassler, SS Freddie Patek and RHP Doug Bird on our injured list. Yay.

Rance Mulliniks went 4-for-5 and Gil Flores had a 2-run triple for the Angels, who have dropped 7 of 10 since briefly moving into second place. They’re now 12.5 games back.

We went 16-13 in June. July begins with a continuation of the current road trip. After a travel day on Thursday June 30, we will play 3 at Cleveland and then 2 at Texas (!!!) before returning home.

CURRENT RECORD: 42-31 (2nd, 7.5 games behind Texas)
REAL-LIFE RECORD: 38-35 (3rd, 3.5 games behind Minnesota)

***

AROUND THE LEAGUE:
In the AL East, the Yankees continue to rule the roost, but they’re getting a challenge from the second-place Orioles who have awakened and surged into second place, winning 8 of their last 10 … In the West, the Rangers have cooled off just a little, but still own the best record in baseball. The Twins’ strong start is but a memory now. Injuries to their best two starting pitchers doomed them to an 8-20 June after going 16-8 in May …. Over in the National League, the Chicago Cubs (41-32) lead the East by percentage points over Pittsburgh (42-33), which is a little surprising until you realize the REAL-LIFE Cubs were 47-23 and owned an 8.5-game lead at this same juncture in 1977 … The Philadelphia Phillies have stopped screwing around and decided to join the race, winning 4 in a row to climb to 37-36, just 4 games back … And in the NL West, the L.A. Dodgers have a 4-game lead over the defending world-champion Reds, who did briefly re-take first place since my last update, but have slipped back again.

I said earlier that it’s dangerous to play expansion teams early in the season because bad teams don’t know they’re bad yet. Toronto and Seattle know it now, as both have sunken like stones to the bottom of their respective divisions, though Seattle still has a somewhat decent record at 37-43.

OTHER RECENT NEWS:
• St. Louis Cardinals’ closer Al Hrabosky will miss the rest of the season due to bone chips in his elbow. He had been struggling, posting a 4-4 record with only 2 saves and a 5.04 ERA over 40.2 innings.

• Kansas City Royals’ first baseman John Mayberry was recently named Player of the Week, going 14-for-33 with 2 home runs and 9 RBI over a 7-day period. He is now slashing .291/.377/.502 with a team-leading 16 HRs and 59 RBI.

• Texas Rangers third baseman Toby Harrah was named the American League’s top hitter for June. During the month, Harrah hit .319 with 8 HRs, 34 RBI and 20 runs scored. On the season, Harrah is slashing .296/.406/.542 with 4 HRs and 65 RBI.

• Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Reggie Smith was named the National League’s top hitter for June. Smith hit .407 with 6 HRs, 16 RBI and 22 runs scored. For the season, Smith is slashing .331/.414/.509 with 12 HRs, 41 RBIs and 47 runs scored.

• Chicago White Sox southpaw Ken Kravec was named AL Pitcher of the Month for June. He went 6-0 with a 1.75 ERA in the month, helping lift the otherwise disappointing Sox out of last place. So far this season, Kravec is 10-1 with a 3.51 ERA.

• Chicago Cubs hurler Bill Bonham was named NL Pitcher of the Month for June, giving the Windy City a clean sweep on the mound. In June, Bonham went 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA, raising his overall record to 11-5, with a 3.09 ERA over 128 innings for the first-place Cubbies.

THE TOP FIVE SONGS IN THE U.S. ON JULY 1, 1977:

1. Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky) — Bill Conti
2. Undercover Angel — Alan O’Day
3. I Got to Give it Up (Pt. 1) — Marvin Gaye
4. Da Doo Ron Ron — Shaun Cassidy
5. Looks Like We Made It — Barry Manilow

Ok …. Back to the action! Summer’s here and the time is right for blasting it to the seats!

***

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Old 05-16-2019, 02:05 PM   #26
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Game 74, Friday July 1, 1977 ~

At Cleveland

Royals 7, Indians 3

WP: Paul Splittorff (5-6, 4.33); LP: Rick Waits (5-9, 3.56)

The Royals rode a trio of 2-run hits to their fourth straight win. Frank White whacked a 2-run triple in the third, Kiko Garcia ripped a 2-run double in the sixth, and Hal McRae rapped a 2-run single in the sixth in support of Paul Splittorff, who allowed just 2 runs over seven innings.

Paul Dade went 3-for-5 in the leadoff spot for Cleveland, which actually out-hit KC 12-8, but left 10 little Indians stranded on the bases.

***

Game 75, Saturday July 2, 1977 ~

At Cleveland

Royals 4, Indians 1

WP: Jim Colborn (11-2, 3.48); LP: Pat Dobson (4-6, 5.16)

Other American League pitchers like Nolan Ryan, Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan and Ken Kravec have dominated the season’s sports headlines.

All the while, Jim Colborn has quietly put together a campaign as solid as any of theirs. Saturday’s start against Cleveland was typical: 9 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K. It was Colborn’s 8th complete game of the season.

The Royals broke a 1-1 tie with 2 runs in the fifth. Kiko Garcia scored on a Hal McRae groundout to make it 2-1. George Brett later followed with an RBI double.

We have Dennis Leonard on the hill Sunday night against somebody named Alan Griffin who has a 7.24 ERA.

***

Game 76, Sunday July 3, 1977 ~

At Cleveland

Royals 10, Indians 4

WP: Dennis Leonard (7-3, 2.58); LP: Alan Griffin (2-7, 7.23)

Dennis Leonard continued his rebound from an 0-3 start by winning the seventh of his past eight starts. But he got a lot of help from the bats. The Royals overwhelmed the sliding Indians with a 17-hit barrage.

Right fielder Al Cowens went 3-for-5 with a HR (No. 15) and 4 RBIs to lead the charge. But Tom Poquette (4-for-5) and reserve catcher Clint Hurdle (4-for-5, 3 RBI) also played big roles.

The Indians got home runs by Jim Norris (2) and Mike Easler (11) during a 3-run third inning to briefly take a 3-1 lead.

Despite winning 6 in a row, the Royals have lost half a game on the Rangers, who spent the weekend hammering the hapless Blue Jays in Toronto, including a doubleheader sweep. The Rangers outscored the Jays 37-9 over those four games.

We get two games with the Rangers at Arlington Stadium the next two days. We’re tired and a bit banged up, but head-to-head seems to be our only way to gain ground as long as the Rangers continue playing so well. The Royals have won 15 of their past 18 … and picked up only 2 games on Texas, which just completed a 10-6 road trip.

The Rangers will play their next 13 games at home in the run-up to the All-Star Game.

***
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:49 AM   #27
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Game 77, Monday July 4, 1977 ~

!! *** HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, AMERICA *** !!

At Arlington

Rangers 4, Royals 3

WP: Adrian Devine (7-3, 2.95); LP: Rich Gale (1-2, 4.60)

Toby Harrah ripped a walk-off, RBI single off reliever Rich Gale to lift the Texas Rangers after the Royals had rallied to tie the game in the top of the ninth.

Rangers starter Bert Blyleven (9-1, 3.36) held KC to just 3 hits over seven innings and turned a 3-1 lead over to closer Adrian Devine in the eighth. The Royals did nothing in the eighth, but Amos Otis led off the ninth with a solo oppo-field homer (his 11th); and then two outs later, Rico Carty (pinch-hitting for SS Kiko Garcia) drew a walk. Willie Wilson came in as a pinch-runner, stole second, and scored on Tom Poquette’s bloop single just over the shortstop’s outstretched glove.

The Royals played well regardless of the loss. Starter Steve Renko left after just 12 pitches in the first inning with a sore ankle (fortunately mild), which forced me to patch together 8 quality innings with 4 poor-quality relievers — against the Rangers’ ace, no less.

If Renko’s sore ankle isn’t better by tomorrow, we’re doomed. I had to use No. 5 starter Marty Pattin to cover 5 innings today.

***

Game 78, Tuesday July 5, 1977 ~

At Arlington

Royals 2, Rangers 1

WP: Paul Splittorff (6-6, 4.12); LP: Gaylord Perry (9-4, 2.83); Sv: Mark Littell (5, 6.49)

Renko’s ankle wasn’t up to snuff, so the Royals turned to LHP Paul Splittorff, who took the mound on three days’ rest and held the Rangers to two hits through six innings.

Mark Littell gave up a solo home run to Texas’ Mike Hargrove (No. 14) in the bottom of the ninth to ruin the shutout, but he still got the save.

The Royals also put to bed Rangers 3B Roy Howell’s 23-game hitting streak. He went 0 for 2 in this game.

George Brett gave KC a 1-0 lead with a solo shot (No. 12) that barely cleared the RF wall. In the top of the eighth, Frank White got on base, advanced to second on a passed ball, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

We leave the metroplex having neither gained nor lost ground. We play 10 of our next 12 at home — but our pitchers are worn out and we get no day off until the All Star Break.

The battle continues.

***
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:53 AM   #28
webrian
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Game 79, Wednesday July 6, 1977 ~

At Kansas City

Royals 6, Brewers 4

WP: Gas Can Shanahan (3-4, 5.68); LP: Jim Slaton (7-8, 4.77); Sv: Mark Littell (6, 6.31)

Jim Colborn was slated to start this one, with all starters bumped a day early due to Steve Renko’s little ankle injury. With 12 games in 12 days, I didn’t want to stay in a vicious cycle of starters going on short rest — not with the bullpen so inconsistent. There lies the path of a 9-game losing streak. No, no, no.

So I was willing to take the ‘L’ in this one. To prove it, I decided to give Greg “Gas Can” Shanahan his first start since early May. I was gonna leave him in for at least 5 innings no matter what, damn the consequences, whatever it took to get my starters back on schedule.

Shanahan had other ideas. He held the 43-37 Brewers to 3 infield singles over seven innings. When he left the mound after the seventh inning to a standing ovation, the Royals had a 6-0 lead. And then “Gas Can” got to experience what it’s like when a bad bullpen almost ruins your work.
Rich Gale and Larry Gura sprung into action, allowing Milwaukee 4 runs in one combined inning between them. Fortunately, the slowly improving Mark Littell came on in the ninth and closed the door.

Al Cowens went 2-for-3 with a triple and his 16th homer of the year. George Brett jacked his 13th round-tripper of the year, a 2-run shot in the first inning.

***

Game 80, Thursday July 7, 1977 ~

At Kansas City

Brewers 5, Royals 4

WP: Lary Sorensen (8-3, 3.39); LP: Jim Colborn (11-3, 3.58); Sv: Bill Castro (5, 4.32)

Jim Colborn threw his ninth complete game of the year, but also gave up three homers — two of them to Cecil Cooper — and the Royals couldn’t quite come back.

The Brewers jumped all over Colborn for 4 runs in the top of the first inning. Al Woods hit a solo homer (No. 4) and Cooper blasted an opposite-field 3-run shot to LF. Cooper added a solo bomb, his 10th, in the fifth inning to make it 5-2.

KC’s George Brett homered for the third straight game, a 2-run shot that cut the 4-0 lead to 4-2. He now has 14 for the season to go with a .321 average and 48 RBI.

The Texas Rangers trailed 4-0 against Oakland yesterday — came back to win 11-8. They trailed Oakland 5-0 today — came back to win 9-5. We now trail the Rangers by 9 games in the standings. Oakland is coming to KC for a weekend series.

The Rangers have a 30-8 record at home. Jeez.

***
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:59 AM   #29
webrian
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Game 81, Friday July 8, 1977 ~

At Kansas City

Athletics 5, Royals 4 (10 innings)

WP: Vida Blue (9-6, 3.60); LP: Steve Mingori (2-3, 5.35)

The Oakland Athletics couldn’t protect any leads against Texas.

The Kansas City Royals couldn’t protect a lead against Oakland.

The Royals took a 3-1 lead to the top of the eighth inning, but starter Dennis Leonard couldn’t hold it. Rickey Henderson — who is 18 years old, people — clubbed his 10th homer of the year and second of the game to cut the lead to 3-2. The next three batters hit two singles and a double, bringing in the tying run.

The teams traded solo homers in the ninth. Earl Williams hit his fifth to give Oakland a 4-3 lead. Al Cowens hit his 17th to tie it again at 4-4. The A’s pushed the go-ahead run across the plate in the top of the 10th on a double-play groundout after Mitchell Page doubled and Tony Armas singled against reliever Steve Mingori.

The Royals had runners at second and third with two out when Frank White tapped an easy ground ball back to the mound.

***
Game 82, Saturday July 9, 1977 ~

At Kansas City

Royals 11, Athletics 5

WP: Steve Renko (6-6, 5.35); LP: Doc Medich (6-10, 4.09)

Ok, this time the Athletics couldn’t protect a lead. Oakland built an early 4-0 advantage against Steve “Wreck It” Renko and looked like they’d cruise. But then the Royals offense kicked on like an old gas oven on a cold Nebraska morning.

Kiko Garcia had a 2-run homer (No. 2) and a 2-run double, George Brett tripled and homered (his 15th and 4th in 5 games), and Frank White went 3-for-4 witih 3 RBIs as KC erupted for 11 runs over the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

It was so many runs in such a short time that even Renko couldn’t mess it up. Larry Gura and Rich Gale pitched the final three innings, which were pretty ho-hum no matter who was batting.

Jerry Tabb (No. 4) and Wayne Gross (10) had homers for the Athletics.

***

Game 83, Sunday July 10, 1977 ~

At Kansas City

Royals 9, Athletics 0

WP: Paul Splittorff (7-6, 3.85); LP: Craig Mitchell (0-1, 8.44)

Oakland starter Rick Langford is out for the season with bone chips in his elbow, so the Athletics called some dweeb up from AAA and he was dead on arrival.

While Paul Splittorff pitched his first complete-game shutout of the season, KC’s hitters tee’d off on this Craig Mitchell kid. Hal McRae, who currently leads the AL All-Star voting in LF, hit his 5th homer. Rico Carty, subbing at first base for a slumping John Mayberry, smacked his 6th round-tripper of the season. And Al Cowens blasted his team-leading 18th 419 feet to left-centerfield.

I pulled most of the starters after the sixth inning.

Next we travel to Chicago for a two-game set. This is a bad time. The White Sox have suddenly awoken and have won 14 of their past 18 games.

We’re playing reasonably well too.

***
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