This Date In Royals History–1969 Edition: June 29

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The Royals continued to play well at home against Minnesota, splitting a doubleheader with a 7-2 win in the first game before dropping the second game, 12-2.

Kansas City wasted no time grabbing the lead in game one. Joe Foy led off against Twins starter Jim Perry and singled to center. Pat Kelly walked, and Mike Fiore followed with a three-run home run.

Thanks to a double play, Royals starter Wally Bunker had faced just nine batters through three innings, but Minnesota got one run back in the fourth. Ted Uhlaender led off with a double and scored when Tony Oliva hit a single with one out.

However, the Royals continued to rough up Perry with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth. Jackie Hernandez led off with a single and took second on Bunker’s sacrifice bunt. Foy singled to put the Royals ahead 4-1 and end Perry’s afternoon after allowing eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.

The Royals added one run in the fifth, as Jerry Adair singled to score Lou Piniella, who had singled and reached second when Ellie Eodriguez walked. Then KC blew the game open with two more runs in the sixth, as Fiore walked ahead of Bob Oliver’s long home run, measured at 440 feet, which cleared the 22-foot-high wall in center field.

With the commanding lead, Bunker simply needed to throw strikes, which he did. He earned his fourth win of the season with a complete game, striking out three but not walking any. The downside of throwing so many strikes was that Bunker allowed 11 hits, including a Graig Nettles home run that concluded the scoring in the seventh.

The win was Kansas City’s fifth straight at home over the Twins, who were in a dogfight with Oakland for the AL West lead. Minnesota finally got the monkey off their backs in the second game, scoring six runs in the second inning.

Royals starter Jim Rooker simply could not find the strike zone. After walking two and throwing a wild pitch in the first (and getting bailed out by a double play, albeit one which scored a run), Rooker walked the first two batters of the second. Reliever Don O’Riley failed to record an out, with Frank Quilici hitting an RBI single, a walk to Jim Kaat, and a two-run double by Cesar Tovar. Reliever Dave Wickersham entered the game and promptly gave up a three-run home run to Tony Oliva.

The six-run inning made quick work of a Royals lead, which came when they scored two runs in the first. With one out, Pat Kelly walked and stole second. With two outs, Bob Oliver doubled for one run and Buck Martinez singled for a 2-1 lead.

Kaat settled in after that, holding the Royals to five singles the rest of the way as he pitched a complete game. Minnesota salted the game away with Oliva’s second home run of the day, a two-run shot in the sixth, and three more runs in the ninth.

The split left the Royals at 30-43 on the season. They were in fifth place in the AL West, 11.5 games behind Oakland.

Box score and play-by-play (game one): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196906291.shtml
Box score and play-by-play (game two): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196906292.shtml

Today’s birthdays: Harmon Killebrew (1936), Jason Rakers (1973), Shawn Sedlacek (1977), Dusty Hughes (1982), Frank Schwindel (1992)

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