Essentially, the Royals lost to Jose Cardenal. Sure, his Cleveland teammates helped. But it was Cardenal who manufactured the winning run with only a slight bit of help as the Indians defeated the Royals 3-2 in 11 innings at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.
Cardenal led off the 11th inning with a single off Royals reliever Moe Drabowsky, who was starting his third inning of work after two perfect frames. Cardenal then stole second and third, barely beating the throws from catcher Ellie Rodriguez on both plays. When Tony Horton grounded out to shortstop, Cardenal made a delayed dash for home. First baseman Chuck Harrison quickly threw home, but Cardenal ran into Rodriguez and jarred the ball loose on the tag attempt. Rodriguez got a tough-luck error on the play but all the credit should have gone to Cardenal.
The Royals had been running uphill all night after the Indians scored single runs in the first and third innings, so the bottom of the 11th was no different. Lou Piniella led off with a single, but was eventually picked off first. That hurt when Joe Foy followed with a single. Harrison walked with two outs, but Ed Kirkpatrick’s fly ball to center ended the game.
Except for those two early runs the Indians scored, Royals starter Dick Drago was solid. He pitched eight innings and allowed seven hits, struck out two and walked none. One of the runs he allowed was unearned.
All of the Royals’ offense came in the eighth inning. Cleveland starter Sam McDowell had been tearing through the Kansas City lineup after working out of trouble in the first two innings, retiring 10 straight at one point. But the Royals strung together singles by Juan Rios, Jackie Hernandez, and Jerry Adair to score one run. Joe Foy’s sacrifice fly against reliever Stan Williams tied the score at 2-2, and it stayed there until Cardenal’s heroics in the 11th.
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Royals, and dropped their record to 15-16. They also fell to fourth place in the AL West, five games behind both Minnesota and Oakland.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196905140.shtml