The Royals’ losing streak reached six games when their ninth-inning rally fell short in a 7-6 loss to Washington at Municipal Stadium.
Kansas City fell behind early, as the Senators came up with two unearned runs in the first inning. With two outs, third baseman Joe Foy committed a throwing error on Frank Howard’s grounder. Washington took advantage of the extended inning, with Mike Epstein hitting a double and Ken McMullen adding a single.
The Royals got one run back right away. Juan Rios, who slugged just .278 for the 1969 Royals, took Senators starter Frank Bertaina deep to start the first inning. It was the only home run Rios would hit in the majors.
Kansas City took the lead in the second. With one out, Dennis Paepke walked. With two outs, Rios singled. A wild pitch scored Paepke, and then Pat Kelly walked. Mike Fiore drove in one run with a single, and Foy drove in another with a single of his own. However, the inning ended with Fiore being thrown out at third base.
Royals starter Roger Nelson could not hold the lead. With one out in the third, the Senators sandwiched walks around a Frank Howard single. With two outs, Bernie Allen tripled to right field, scoring all three runners and giving Washington a 5-4 lead.
Facing reliever Jim Rooker in the fifth, the Senators padded their lead with two more triples, one from Frank Howard and one from McMullen. They added their final run in the seventh against Dave Morehead, as Howard singled and McMullen walked before Rios made a throwing error on a potential double play, allowing one run to score.
Washington reliever Casey Cox had taken over for Bertaina in the second inning and kept the Royals from scoring for six innings. At last, in the ninth, he seemed to tire. Ed Kirkpatrick led off with a double before Rios, having the game of his life, doubled to cut Washington’s lead to 7-5. Jim Shellenback took over on the mound and got a groundout, with pinch-runner Tom Burgmeier taking third. A walk to Fiore prompted Washington to bring in Dennis Higgins. He walked Foy to load the bases, still with one out. Lou Piniella’s sacrifice fly brought the Royals within one, but Chuck Harrison grounded out to end the game.
The loss put the Royals’ record at 21-27 on the season. They were in fifth place in the AL West, six games behind Minnesota.
Today’s birthdays: Jeff Schulz (1961), Raul Ibanez (1972), Neifi Perez (1973)