The Royals scored three unearned runs in the eighth inning, snapping a 5-5 tie and giving them an 8-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Municipal Stadium.
Chicago reliever Dan Osinski had pitched a perfect seventh inning and retired the first batter in the eighth. But Ellie Rodriguez started the winning rally with a single. Juan Rios hit a grounder to shortstop Luis Aparicio, who booted it. Instead of an inning-ending double play, the Royals had two men on. Hawk Taylor delivered a pinch-hit single, scoring Rodriguez. The hit wound up as Taylor’s third game-winning hit of the year; used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitting specialist, the veteran was hitting .378/.417/.600 in 45 plate appearances after this one.
After Wilbur Wood replaced Osinski, he walked Pat Kelly to load the bases. Wood got a strikeout but Paul Schaal provided the Royals with insurance by lining a two-run single into left field.
The big eighth inning was the last salvo in a back-and-forth affair. The White Sox took the lead first, scoring on a Carlos May single in the first inning against Royals starter Bill Butler.
Kansas City did not score until the third inning, when they picked up three runs against White Sox starter Gary Peters. Butler started the inning with a walk. Pat Kelly reached on a bunt, and Jackie Hernandez bunted both runners over. After a strikeout, Lou Piniella homered, his 10th of the season.
Chicago answered with one run in the fifth on a Bill Melton home run, and took the lead in the sixth. The first three batters of that inning reached against Butler, although one was on an error. Moe Drabowsky entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs. He struck out the first man he faced, but Melton singled to drive in two runs and give Chicago a 4-3 lead. Drabowsky retired the next two batters, though.
The Royals responded in the bottom of the inning, with Rodriguez leading off with a single. After he was bunted to second, Buck Martinez singled to drive him in. Pitcher Jim Rooker ran for Martinez and scored the go-ahead run when Kelly doubled.
Chicago would once again tie the score in the sixth. Facing reliever Dave Wickersham, Walt Williams led off with a single and was bunted to second. May reached on an infield single and Gail Hopkins doubled, tying the game at 5-5 while May stopped at third. Relievers Tom Burgmeier and Don O’Riley teamed up to get the Royals out of the inning with the game still deadlocked, and O’Riley worked a perfect ninth before Mike Hedlund got the save by working around a two-out error in the ninth.
The win lifted the Royals to 37-48 on the season. They were in fifth place in the AL West, 13.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196907110.shtml
Today’s birthday: Blaine Boyer (1981)