A crucial throwing error led to two unearned runs and sent the Royals to a 5-2 loss to the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium.
With the score tied at 2-2 in the eighth, California’s Sandy Alomar led off with a bunt single and took second on third baseman Paul Schaal’s throwing error. After a walk to Jay Johnstone, Rick Reichardt tried a sacrifice bunt. Royals pitcher Bill Butler fielded it but threw the ball past first baseman Mike Fiore. As the ball bounced up the right-field line, both runners came in to score. Reichardt reached second on the play. After another sacrifice bunt, he scored on Bubba Morton’s sacrifice fly.
The Royals got one hit in the ninth but Bob Oliver grounded into a double play to end the game.
The error and three-run inning were a sour end to a game where Butler pitched well. Over eight innings, he held the Angels to six hits and three walks while striking out 10.
Angels starter Tom Murphy was nearly as good. He limited the Royals to seven hits and two walks in a complete game effort. Murphy struck out six hitters.
Each team scored one run in the first. For Kansas City, Pat Kelly started the game with a bunt single and stole second. After a walk to Paul Schaal, Kelly scored on Fiore’s single. But Schaal was thrown out trying to reach third, and two harmless groundouts ended the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Johnstone doubled with one out. With two outs, Jim Fregosi singled to tie the game at 1-1.
Jim Spencer put the Angels ahead with a solo home run in the fifth inning, but the Royals answered with a run in the sixth. Kelly started that rally, too. He was hit by a pitch to start the inning and took second on a wild pitch. Schaal reached on an infield single. Fiore grounded into a double play, with Kelly scoring the tying run. Lou Piniella followed with a single, but the Royals would not have another runner until the ninth.
The loss dropped the Royals to 39-52 on the season. They were in a three-way tie for third in the AL West with Seattle and Chicago, although all three teams were 16 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL196907150.shtml