In their inaugural season, the Royals experienced all the typical “firsts” for a team: first win, first home run, first hit, and so on. In this game, they experienced their first fight. It happened in the fourth inning of Kansas City’s 2-1 win at Municipal Stadium.
With the score knotted at 1-1, Ellie Rodriguez drew a one-out walk. When Juan Rios hit a grounder to third, Rodriguez slid hard into second base, trying to break up the double play. Seattle second baseman Tommy Harper objected and the two players had to be separated by the umpires after some heated discussion. But then Rodriguez turned and hit Seattle shortstop Ray Oyler, later claiming that Oyler was coming up behind him. That got the benches to empty, and Harper was knocked down in the scuffle. Both Rodriguez and Harper were ejected.
The fight overshadowed a strong performance by Royals starter Mike Hedlund. Making his first start of the year, Hedlund held the Pilots to two hits and one run over seven innings. He also drove in Kansas City’s first run of the game with a single in the second. That scored Jerry Adair with the tying run.
The Royals picked up the eventual game-winning run in the fifth. Pat Kelly led off with a double and stole third. With one out, Lou Piniella hit a fly ball to short right field. Kelly tagged at third and scored by evading the tag at home.
Moe Drabowsky worked around a leadoff walk and single in the ninth, getting two popups and a groundout to end the game with the tying run at third.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196904220.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Steve Jones (1941), Bill Paschall (1954), Andres Machado (1993)