The Royals almost pulled off another comeback, but fell just short in a 6-5 defeat to the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis. The loss meant Minnesota won the four-game series, three games to one, although all four games were decided by one run.
Early on, it definitely did not look like a one-run game. The Twins tagged Royals starter Dick Drago and relievers Galen Cisco and Mike Hedlund for six runs in the first five innings. Minnesota had a two-run lead four batters into the game as Ted Uhlaender led off with a walk and scored on Rod Carew’s triple. With one out, Harmon Killebrew singled for the second run.
In the second inning, Cesar Tovar led off with a single. Drago nearly got out of the inning unscathed, retiring the next two batters. But Carew doubled down the left-field line for a 3-0 lead, although he was subsequently picked off second to end the inning.
Killebrew homered off Cisco with one out in the third. The solo shot was his 25th round-tripper of the year and his 86th RBI, in Minnesota’s 84th game.
The Royals gifted Minnesota a run in the fourth. Tovar started the inning by reaching on an error by shortstop Jackie Hernandez. After a bunt moved Tovar to third, Cisco had him picked off but threw wildly. That allowed Tovar to scamper home with the Twins’ fifth run. Minnesota added another run in the fifth on John Roseboro’s squeeze bunt for a 6-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Twins starter Dick Boswell had been shutting down the Royals’ offense. Pat Kelly led off the game with a double and stole third, but Boswell proceeded to strike out the side. Those were the first three of 11 straight batters Boswell retired. The Royals got a hit and a walk in the fourth but could not capitalize.
Finally, in the sixth, Kansas City got on the board, as Mike Fiore homered with one out and no one on. After an error and a single, Boswell gave way to reliever Dick Woodson, who got two outs to end the inning.
However, Hernandez started the seventh with a bunt single. Chuck Harrison homered to cut the Twins’ lead to 6-3. With two outs, Woodson walked Fiore and Lou Piniella homered off new pitcher Ron Perranoski.
But Perranoski got the last out of the inning, then worked around a one-out walk in the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth to nail down his 17th save.
The loss dropped the Royals to 36-49 on the season, and left them 13.5 games behind the Twins in the AL West. Kansas City was in fifth place in the division.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN/MIN196907100.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Hal McRae (1945), Johnny Giavotella (1987), Scott Alexander (1989), Will Smith (1989)