The Royals dropped their sixth straight game, losing this one on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth which gave the White Sox a 5-4 win at White Sox Park in Chicago.
With the score tied at 4-4, Dick Drago came in to pitch for the Royals. He struck out the first man he faced, but walked Don Pavletich. With two outs, Luis Aparicio singled. Drago intentionally walked White Sox cleanup hitter Carlos May, but the strategy backfired when Drago got to a full count on Gail Hopkins, then missed with a pitch to force in the winning run.
The only silver lining for the Royals was that, after scoring six runs in the previous five games, the bats woke up a bit. Facing White Sox starter Billy Wynne, Kansas City grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Lou Piniella led off with a single and Buck Martinez tripled. Bob Oliver reached on a fielder’s choice, with Martinez scoring. However, two strikeouts and a groundout ended the inning.
Chicago scored one run in the second, with a two-out rally consisting of a Bobby Knoop single and Ken Berry double. Royals starter Roger Nelson kept the White Sox from scoring again until the fifth, when Berry reached second on third baseman Paul Schaal’s error to start the inning. A bunt moved Berry to third, and he scored when Nelson balked, tying the game.
Wynne held the Royals without a hit from Martinez’s triple until there were two outs in the seventh, when Juan Rios reached on an infield single. Jackie Hernandez lined a triple to center field, putting Kansas City back in front.
The lead didn’t last long. In the bottom of the seventh, Nelson issued a leadoff walk to Ed Herrmann. With two outs and pinch-runner Buddy Bradford on second, pinch-hitter Don Pavletich doubled. Nelson walked Tommy McCraw. Aparicio singled to give the White Sox a 4-3 lead before reliever Moe Drabowsky ended the inning with a strikeout.
The Royals came back again, tying the score in the eighth. Joe Keough led off with a single and took second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Piniella delivered a game-tying single.
Kansas City could have gone ahead in the ninth. With one out, Rios doubled, and Hernandez was walked intentionally. Pinch-hitter Jerry Adair was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. But Keough and Schaal each grounded into force outs, and the opportunity was lost. Of course, that haunted the Royals when Chicago scored in the bottom of the inning.
The loss dropped the Royals to 39-55. They also fell into fifth place in the AL West, 18.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA196907190.shtml