For the first time, the Royals faced off with their expansion brethren, the Seattle Pilots. Kansas City took advantage of two Seattle errors to pull out a 2-1 win at Sick’s Stadium in Seattle.
Kansas City had to overcome an early deficit, as Seattle’s Tommy Harper led off the bottom of the first with a double against Royals starter Roger Nelson. Two groundouts brought Harper in, giving Seattle a 1-0 lead.
The Royals did not score until the sixth inning. Jackie Hernandez led off with a bunt single. Joe Keough reached on shortstop John Kennedy’s error, and Joe Foy singled to tie the game. The Royals might have scored more in the inning but the next batter, Mike Fiore, grounded into an unconventional double play. First baseman Don Mincher stopped Fiore’s ground ball, tagged Foy, and threw home to get Keough. Fiore ended up at second, and a George Spriggs walk and Jerry Adair single loaded the bases. However, pinch-hitter Ed Kirkpatrick grounded out to end the threat.
Kansas City broke the tie in the eighth. With one out, Foy singled. A wild pitch moved him to second before Fiore walked. After a fly out, Adair hit a grounder that Kennedy muffed for his second error of the game. Foy was able to score on the play and give the Royals a 2-1 lead.
Nelson pitched into the ninth, somehow holding Seattle to the one run despite allowing six hits and walking five. Seattle left 10 men on base and went 1-12 with runners in scoring position. Things got a little hairy for Nelson in the ninth, as he walked Jim Gosger to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved Gosger to second, and Nelson walked pinch-hitter Mike Ferraro. Nelson struck out Steve Whitaker, but walked Tommy Harper to load the bases. When Nelson started the next hitter, Mike Hegan, off with ball one, manager Joe Gordon turned to reliever Dave Wickersham, who got Hegan to pop up and end the game.
In a scheduling oddity, this was a one-game series. The Royals headed off to Chicago after the game.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SE1/SE1196904140.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Joe Lahoud (1947), Gregg Zaun (1971), Kyle Farnsworth (1976), Brandon Finnegan (1993)