The Kansas City offense ran hot and cold, scoring eight runs in the first three innings of a doubleheader, but then scoring just one over the next 14 innings. The result was a split against the Chicago White Sox at Municipal Stadium.
In the first game, the Royals jumped on Chicago starter Jerry Nyman right away. Pat Kelly led off with a walk and took second on a Jackie Hernandez bunt single. Paul Schaal’s sacrifice moved the runners up, and Lou Piniella delivered a two-run single. But KC wasn’t done; Chuck Harrison walked, and Bob Oliver singled for another run. Jerry Adair’s sacrifice fly brought home a fourth run.
Although the White Sox got one run back in the second against Royals starter Wally Bunker (on Kansas City native Ken Berry’s RBI single), the Royals kept at it. With one out in the second, Kelly walked and stole second before Hernandez hit the third of his four home runs on the season.
Another two-run home run came in the third, this one off the bat of Oliver, who hit his 10th of the year with Harrison on base. That pushed the Royals’ lead to 8-1. However, Chicago reliever Don Secrist, who gave up the home run to Oliver, retired the next 15 hitters.
Bunker wasn’t at his best, allowing 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings, but he did strike out eight without walking anyone. And he limited the damage, as he allowed single runs in the fifth (Pete Ward RBI single), sixth (another run batted in for Berry, this one on a double, and seventh innings. The last one came on a Gail Hopkins single, which ended Bunker’s afternoon. Reliever Moe Drabowsky pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, earning his ninth save.
The Royals’ bats continued to slumber in the second game, as White Sox starter Cisco Carlos held them to six hits over five innings, and reliever Wilbur Wood pitched four perfect innings for his sixth save.
Meanwhile, Royals starter Mike Hedlund didn’t pitch badly, allowing nine hits and three walks (against five strikeouts) over eight innings. But the White Sox scored single runs in the first two innings, and the Royals’ offense couldn’t answer.
Kansas City’s only run and best chance for a big inning came in the sixth. Kelly led off with a double and stole third. Schaal singled to bring him home and cut the Chicago lead to 2-1. But Wood, a knuckleball pitcher, entered the game and got Ed Kirkpatrick to ground into a double play. Kansas City would not have another baserunner.
Chicago added an insurance run on a passed ball in the seventh and scored one run off reliever Galen Cisco in the ninth. That kept the Royals from sweeping both the doubleheader and the four-game series.
After the twinbill split, the Royals had a record of 39-50. They moved ahead of Seattle into third place in the AL West, 14.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play (game one): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196907131.shtml
Box score and play-by-play (game two): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196907132.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Jerry Terrell (1946), Pat Rapp (1967)