Friday the 13th was definitely not lucky for the Royals, who managed just four hits as they were shut out by Detroit in a 6-0 loss at Municipal Stadium.
The Tigers’ Joe Sparma improved to 4-1 on the season with the sterling pitching performance. He walked two and struck out six. Kansas City’s best scoring chance came in the fourth inning, with Detroit already ahead 2-0. With one out, Mike Fiore doubled. With two out, Ed Kirkpatrick walked. Jerry Adair hit a line drive bound for right field and probably one run, but second baseman Dick McAuliffe snared it to end the inning.
Detroit’s 2-0 lead was built early. Royals starter Dick Drago walked Mickey Stanley to start the game; he scored on a Norm Cash double with two outs. In the third inning, the Tigers scored another run with two down, as McAuliffe doubled and came home on Al Kaline’s single.
Drago settled in and kept Detroit off the board again until the eighth. He was also having a solid game (five hits, two walks, five strikeouts) before the Tigers batted in that inning. With one out, McAuliffe homered. A Kaline double and Cash single plated another run and ended Drago’s evening. But Detroit kept scoring against reliever Tom Burgmeier. Singles by Jim Northrup and Willie Horton scored one more, with Horton taking second on the throw to third. After Burgmeier intentionally walked Bill Freehan to load the bases, he couldn’t regain his control and walked Tommy Matchick for the fourth run of the inning and a 6-0 lead. Reliever Dave Wickersham got the last two outs to end the inning, but the game was well out of reach.
Sparma worked around a two-out double in the eighth, retiring the last four batters to end the game.
The loss dropped the Royals to 24-33 on the season. They were in fifth place in the AL West, seven games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196906130.shtml
Today’s birthday: Darrell May (1972)