This Date In Royals History–1969 Edition: May 2

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The Royals used two big innings and solid starting pitching to sweep a doubleheader against the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium by scores of 9-4 and 3-2.

In the first game, a four-run fifth inning proved to be decisive. With the score tied at 2-2, Lou Piniella started the inning with a single. He took second on a wild pitch by Angels starter Tom Murphy, who then walked Joe Foy. Although Piniella was thrown out trying to steal third on a double steal, the Royals caught a break when Chuck Harrison grounded back to Murphy. The pitcher made a bad throw to third, trying to catch Foy. Paul Schaal, whom the Royals had selected from California in the expansion draft, singled to right to put the Royals ahead 3-2. Bob Oliver then came up with the game’s key hit, greeting reliever Phil Ortega with a three-run home run.

The Royals added two runs in the sixth thanks to a double by Harrison and one more in the seventh on a Jackie Hernandez single. That was plenty for starting pitcher Steve Jones, who allowed two runs on six hits through the first seven innings. He weakened a bit in the eighth, allowing two more runs, then got the first two outs of the ninth before a walk and a single led the Royals to call on reliever Moe Drabowsky. He got the final out, picking up his third save of the season.

The second game was much closer. The Royals had narrowly missed getting the first complete game in franchise history in game one, but Dick Drago made it happen in game two. The rookie held the Angels to five hits, two runs, and one walk while striking out four. Although he did not complete the game without some drama. In the sixth inning, he threw inside on Angels right fielder Vic Davalillo, who charged the mound, still holding his bat. Luckily, catcher Jim Campanis was able to corral the 150-pound outfielder, and no punches were thrown, despite Angels manager Bill Rigney’s wishes:

“I’m tired of every pitcher on every club in this league taking a shot at that guy. I just wish he had got there sooner and punched him in the nose, that’s all.”—Rigney, quoted by the Associated Press, May 3, 1969

Drago maintained the scouting report on Davalillo called for pitching inside on him, then going away. At any rate, a 3-2 game in the sixth seems like an odd time to put a speedy runner on base.

All the Royals’ runs came in the fourth. Facing starter Andy Messersmith, Joe Keough was hit by a pitch with one out. Piniella doubled to tie the score at 1-1. Foy drew a walk, and with two outs, Oliver and Schaal delivered consecutive RBI singles.

Drago took it from there, working around a two-out walk in the eighth and a leadoff single in the ninth to pick up the first win of his major-league career.

Box score and play-by-play (game one): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL196905021.shtml
Box score and play-by-play (game two): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL196905022.shtml

Today’s birthdays: Felix Jose (1965), Luke Hudson (1977), Neftali Feliz (1988)

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