A late-inning comeback to tie the game went for naught when Orioles relief pitcher Jim Hardin hit a walkoff home run in the ninth, giving Baltimore a 6-5 win over the Royals at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore.
The home run came off former Oriole pitcher Moe Drabowsky and was the first home run Hardin had ever hit as a professional. Hardin’s blast came with one out in the ninth and broke a 5-5 tie.
Kansas City had overcome a 5-2 deficit to get the game tied, starting in the seventh against Orioles starter Dave McNally. Chuck Harrison started the rally with a single. With one out, pinch-hitter Juan Rios singled, and with two outs, pinch-hitter Hawk Taylor singled to drive in one run. Yet another pinch-hitter, Mike Fiore, greeted reliever Eddie Watt with a single to cut Baltimore’s lead to 5-4, although Watt got the next batter to keep the lead.
However, the Royals used singles from Bob Oliver, Harrison, and Jerry Adair to tie the score in the eighth. Hardin entered the game, got a double play on a line drive from Juan Rios, then worked around a two-out walk in the ninth before hitting the game-winning home run.
The Royals actually had an early 1-0 lead, as singles by Jackie Hernandez and Lou Piniella put runners at first and second in the first inning. Hernandez stole third and scored when Piniella got caught in a rundown, although he made it back to first safely.
But Royals starter Mike Hedlund was ineffective, allowing two runs in the first and an unearned run in the second. When he gave up two singles to start the third, he was pulled from the game. Reliever Dave Morehead allowed both inherited runners to score, although he was not charged with any runs in his two innings. Steve Jones and Bill Butler also pitched two scoreless innings in relief, allowing the offense to come back and tie it.
The loss left the Royals at 15-13 on the season, good for third place in the AL West and four games behind Minnesota.
Today’s birthdays: Craig Brazell (1980), George Kottaras (1983), Salvador Perez (1990)