A three-run second inning was the difference as the Indians downed the Royals 4-1 at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, winning the deciding game of the three-game series.
Royals starter Dick Drago worked around two singles in the first inning but couldn’t quite stop the bleeding in the second. There was some bad luck involved, as the Indians collected three infield hits in the inning. Max Alvis led off with an infield single and Larry Brown followed with another single, the only ball hit out of the infield for the inning. That moved Alvis to third. One out later, Indians pitcher Horacio Pina hit a ball that eluded Drago for another infield single, scoring Alvis. After a grounder resulted in a force play at second, Jose Cardenal came up with another infield hit, scoring Brown. Drago hit Lee Maye with a pitch to load the bases, then walked Ken Harrelson to force in the third run of the inning. Drago notched a strikeout to end the inning.
Drago was actually solid for the next four innings, holding Cleveland scoreless on three hits. However, Pina was keeping the Kansas City offense at bay. Through five innings, Pina allowed no runs on two hits and one walk.
At last, in the sixth, the Royals had their best scoring chance. Pat Kelly led off with a triple and scored on a wild pitch with one out. With two outs, Ed Kirkpatrick and Jerry Adair collected singles, putting the tying runs on base. However, Cleveland reliever Stan Williams retired Joe Keough on a groundout to end the threat.
Williams also worked around a single and an error in the eighth, once again getting Keough to ground out to end the scoring opportunity. Ray Fosse drilled a home run off Royals reliever Dave Wickersham in the eighth to give Cleveland its final 4-1 margin.
The loss dropped the Royals to 17-21 on the season. Seattle’s win moved the Pilots just ahead of the Royals in the standings, leaving Kansas City in fifth place in the AL West, 5.5 games behind Oakland.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE196905220.shtml