The Royals’ first trip to Yankee Stadium went swimmingly, as a strong outing from starter Roger Nelson and a big day from an unlikely offensive source sparked the Royals to a 7-1 win over New York.
Nelson pitched a complete game, allowing only five hits and two walks despite collecting only two strikeouts. His lone mistake was allowing a home run to Joe Pepitone in the second. And Nelson would retire 15 of the final 16 batters he faced.
Meanwhile, the Royals offense exploded for five runs in the fifth. Facing Yankees starter Mike Kekich, Mike Fiore and Lou Piniella started the inning with singles, followed by a Jerry Adair single to tie the score at 1-1. Then Ellie Rodriguez, normally a light-hitting catcher, launched a home run down the right-field line. The bomb was the second homer of the year for Rodriguez and his second in two days. However, it would turn out to be the last of the season for him. After two outs, Jackie Hernandez doubled, and Pat Kelly singled for a 5-1 lead.
Kelly led off the eighth inning with a home run, and the Royals tacked on one more in the ninth when Nelson’s sacrifice fly scored Rodriguez, who had reached on an error.
The win ended a four-game skid for the Royals, lifting their record to 23-31. They were seven games behind Minnesota in the AL West, but sitting in fifth place.
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