This Date In Royals History–1969 Edition: May 31

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Yet another first in Royals history, as Kansas City got its first-ever tie game, thanks to rain that wouldn’t quit during the eighth inning with the Royals and Yankees tied 2-2 at Municipal Stadium.

Although the game did not count in the standings and would be made up in its entirety in August, the stats did count. That was good news for Dick Drago, who lowered his ERA to 3.17 with one earned run in 7 1/3 innings, and Yankee starter Mel Stottlemyre, with one earned run in seven innings.

Kansas City jumped on top in the first inning, taking advantage of a New York error. Jackie Hernandez led off with a double. Pat Kelly hit a grounder to first, but Stottlemyre dropped the throw while covering the bag. Kelly was safe and Hernandez scored.

The Royals gave that run back in the third with their own sloppy defense. With one out, third baseman Joe Foy booted Horace Clarke’s grounder. Clarke stole second and went to third when catcher Jim Campanis made a poor throw. Jerry Kenney’s sacrifice fly tied the score.

The Royals retook the lead with the game’s first earned run in the fourth. Mike Fiore homered to lead off the inning, his fourth homer of the season.

But bad defense cost the Royals again in the seventh. Jim Lyttle led off with a double. One out later, Stottlemyre singled into left field, off Foy’s glove. Lyttle stopped at third. Clarke hit a double play ball to second, but Hernandez made a wide relay throw to first and Lyttle scored the tying run. No error was given on the play but the Royals easily could have been out of the inning with the score tied.

The Royals remained at 21-25 on the season. They were in fourth place in the AL West, tied with Seattle and five games behind Minnesota.

Today’s birthdays: Larry Owen (1955), Dilson Torres (1970), Mac Suzuki (1975)

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