It was a tough day all around for the Royals, whose losing streak hit five games, the longest of the season so far. They also got a little beat up and one player found out about two deaths in his family after the game.
On the field, Kansas City coughed up a 5-1 lead and lost to New York 8-5 at Municipal Stadium. The day got off to a good start, with the Royals picking up three runs in the first inning. Jackie Hernandez walked to lead off, and Pat Kelly reached on catcher’s interference. With one out, Joe Foy’s infield single loaded the bases. Ed Kirkpatrick hit a sacrifice fly, with Hernandez scoring and Kelly taking third. Foy stole second, and Lou Piniella’s single drove in both runs.
New York got one run back in the third, but the Royals responded with two tallies in their half of the inning. Kelly walked and took second on a wild pitch. With one out, Foy and Kirkpatrick each laced RBI doubles and Kansas City had a 5-1 lead.
However, the Yankees picked up four straight singles off Royals starter Mike Hedlund in the fourth, scoring two runs and cutting the lead to 5-3.
Dave Wickersham took over on the mound for the Royals to start the fifth and got two quick outs. But a Roy White single and Joe Pepitone home run tied the game at 5-5.
The Royals had done all their damage against Yankees starter Bill Burbach, but reliever Al Downing shut Kansas City out for five innings after entering the game in the third. That allowed the Yankees to catch up and ultimately take the lead. They did so in the seventh, with Wickersham still in the game. With one out, doubles by Jimmie Hall and White put New York in front. Reliever Bill Butler fared no better, with doubles by John Ellis and Jim Lyttle adding two more runs.
From there, Downing and Jack Aker (who got a double play in the ninth to end the game) took care of things for New York.
After the game, Kansas City sent catcher Jim Campanis and outfielder George Spriggs to Class AAA Omaha and called up catcher Dennis Paepke and infielder Billy Harris. Harris was needed after regular second baseman Jerry Adair sustained a minor knee injury in the fourth inning; however, Adair would miss only a few games.
On top of all that, Hedlund found out when he reached the locker room after being removed from the game that his mother-in-law and sister-in-law had been killed in an auto accident in Texas. The Royals gave Hedlund permission to leave the team for a few days.
The loss dropped the Royals to 21-26 on the season. They now were in fifth place in the AL West, five games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196906010.shtml
Today’s birthdays: None