This Date In Royals History–1969 Edition: June 28

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For the second straight day, the Royals enjoyed a comeback win with late-inning heroics, picking up a 7-4 win over Minnesota at Municipal Stadium.

Kansas City grabbed the lead in the third inning, as Jackie Hernandez led off with a single off Twins starter Dave Boswell. Royals pitcher Bill Butler bunted Hernandez to second and Joe Foy walked. With two outs, Mike Fiore dropped a single into right field to score Hernandez.

The Royals added to the lead in the fourth, as Buck Martinez, making the first start of his career after four pinch-hitting appearances, hit his first home run in the majors.

Butler pitched a solid first five innings, but Minnesota took the lead with a four-run outburst in the sixth inning. With one out, two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Leo Cardenas, who doubled for two runs. With two outs, Rick Renick singled for two more runs.

Minnesota’s lead didn’t last long. Fiore led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. With two outs, Lou Piniella doubled to drive in Fiore. Juan Rios hit a grounder to third that Renick couldn’t handle; Piniella scored on the error and the Royals had tied the score at 4-4.

The score remained knotted until the eighth, when the Royals came to bat with Boswell still in the game. Fiore led off with a walk, but was erased when Bob Oliver grounded into a forceout. But Oliver stole second, and the Twins intentionally walked Martinez, hoping for a double play. Piniella singled to center, loading the bases. Hawk Taylor, who ended the previous day’s game with a walkoff single, came up big again. Hitting for pitcher Galen Cisco, who had worked two scoreless relief innings, Taylor singled to drive in two runs, although he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Hernandez added an insurance run with a single for a 7-4 lead.

Moe Drabowsky pitched a perfect ninth inning for his seventh save, and after the game, manager Joe Gordon joked that he couldn’t start Taylor because “then he couldn’t pinch-hit.”

The win lifted the Royals to 29-42 on the season. They remained in fifth place in the AL West, 10.5 games behind Oakland.

Box score and play-by-play:

Today’s birthday: Ron Mahay (1971)

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