Through 38 innings of the 1969 season, the Royals had managed just eight runs total. But they exploded in game four of the year for nine runs, cruising to a 9-3 win over the A’s at the Coliseum in Oakland.
Kansas City started the scoring in the third. Light-hitting Juan Rios reached on an infield single. With one out, Pat Kelly walked. Rios and Kelly pulled off a double steal before Jackie Hernandez singled off Oakland starter Chuck Dobson to drive in both runners. Joe Keough followed with a double, but Hernandez was thrown out trying to score. Then Keough was cut down at home on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Oakland got one run back in the bottom of the third, as Jim Pagliaroni took Royals starter Steve Jones deep to lead off the inning. But Jones recovered to get three straight groundouts.
Kansas City immediately went back to work on offense in the fourth. With two outs, Jim Campanis doubled and Rios singled to drive him in. Then the Royals broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning. Kelly walked and moved to second on a Hernandez sacrifice bunt. Oakland manager Hank Bauer summoned Jim Roland from the bullpen, but Keough doubled to drive in one run. Roland intentionally walked Foy and then walked Mike Fiore to load the bases. Bauer again went to the bullpen, calling on Rollie Fingers this time. The rookie walked Lou Piniella to force in a run, then gave up a single to Campanis that scored two runs. Fingers retired the next two hitters, but the Royals held a 7-1 lead.
The Royals added two more runs in the seventh, when Fiore walked, Piniella was hit by a pitch, and Jones walked with two outs. Kelly doubled to drive in the Royals’ final two runs on the day.
Jones worked into the ninth before tiring and allowing three hits. That brought Oakland to within 9-3, but Dave Wickersham retired the final two A’s hitters to end the game. Overall, Jones did quite well before that ninth inning, allowing just seven hits and two walks before then, although he only had two strikeouts.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK196904120.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Mike Macfarlane (1964), D.J. Carrasco (1977), Burch Smith (1990)