More late-inning heroics for the Royals, who scored three runs in the top of the ninth to earn a 4-2 victory over the Orioles at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.
Orioles starter Tom Phoebus had held the Royals to five hits over the first eight innings. But Joe Foy led off the ninth with a single, prompting Baltimore manager Earl Weaver to go to the bullpen. Bob Oliver singled off new pitcher Dick Hall, moving Foy to third base. After a strikeout, the Orioles intentionally walked Jerry Adair. Pinch-hitter Mike Fiore rifled a double to drive in two runs and put the Royals ahead 3-2. Pitcher Dick Drago successfully put down a squeeze bunt, scoring pinch-runner Tom Burgmeier with an insurance run.
Drago was outstanding on the mound as well. He earned his second major-league win with a complete-game four-hitter, walking two and striking out eight. He did not allow a hit for the first six innings. Baltimore finally broke through in the seventh, with Paul Blair and Frank Robinson starting the inning with singles before Boog Powell doubled to drive in both runs.
That gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead, overcoming the run Kansas City scored in the fourth. Singles by Lou Piniella and Foy with one out led to a run when Oliver hit a sacrifice fly.
The Royals improved to 15-12 with the win. They remained in third place in the AL West, 3.5 games behind Minnesota.
Today’s birthdays: Steve Hammond (1957), Jimmy Serrano (1976)