This Date In Royals History–1969 Edition: June 8

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A five-run third inning was too much for the Royals to overcome, as they dropped an 8-2 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston.

Kansas City took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, as catcher Ellie Rodriguez homered off Red Sox starter Jim Lonborg. The homer was the first of the year for Rodriguez; unfortunately, it followed Chuck Harrison being caught stealing, costing the Royals a run.

The lead did not last long. Royals starter Dick Drago had navigated through the top part of the Boston order without issue, but the bottom of the order gave him problems. Russ Gibson started the inning with a single. Lonborg put down a sacrifice bunt to move Gibson to second. Dick Schofield reached on an infield single, and Dalton Jones homered to put Boston ahead 3-1. With two outs, Reggie Smith walked and Rico Petrocelli homered over the Green Monster for a 5-1 lead.

Boston tacked on one more run in the fourth, with Lonborg roping an RBI double down the left-field line. That ended Drago’s appearance; reliever Steve Jones took over and retired five straight hitters before leaving the game.

On the mound, Lonborg had been cruising since the Rodriguez home run, retiring 10 straight after that. Kansas City managed two singles in the sixth inning and one in the seventh but could not score either time. They had one last chance to get back in the game in the eighth, though. With one out, Billy Harris and Jackie Hernandez each singled. Lonborg hit pinch-hitter Juan Rios with a pitch to load the bases. Joe Foy reached on an infield single, driving in Harris. But Lonborg recovered to strike out Ed Kirkpatrick and the inning ended when Lou Piniella grounded out.

The Red Sox then put the game out of reach, beginning the bottom of the eighth with homers by Smith and Petrocelli off Dave Morehead. Lonborg gave up a double to Rodriguez with two outs in the ninth, but finished off the complete game by getting Harris to ground out; unfortunately, Harris suffered a severely sprained ankle when he hit first base and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.

The loss dropped the Royals to 22-31 on the season. They were in fifth place in the AL West, eight games behind Minnesota.

Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS196906080.shtml

Today’s birthday: Matt Whisenant (1971)

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