The Royals, led by a three-run home run from rookie Buck Martinez, avoided a sweep by defeating Detroit 7-2 in the fourth game of their series at Tiger Stadium.
Martinez hit his second homer of the season in the first inning. Joe Keough started the game with a single against Tigers starter Pat Dobson, but was forced out at second on a Jackie Hernandez grounder. Joe Foy drew a walk, and with two outs, Martinez deposited a Dobson pitch in the seats for a 3-0 lead.
The Royals kept up the scoring pace. Hernandez started the third with a single and stole second. Foy hit a grounder to shortstop Mickey Stanley, who threw wildly to first. Hernandez scored and Foy reached second. He then stole third and scored on Hawk Taylor’s sacrifice fly. A Martinez single finished Dobson’s afternoon, and reliever Fred Lasher kept the score 5-0 by striking out the next two batters.
Tom Timmermann took over for Lasher to begin the fourth, but the Royals kept scoring. Juan Rios started the inning with a single, but was at second base with two outs. Hernandez singled for one run, and then scored when the Tigers made two errors on one play. Hernandez stole second, and catcher Jim Price’s throw sailed into center field. But Jim Northrup failed to come up with the ball, and Hernandez was able to complete his trip around the bases, giving KC a 7-0 lead.
Although the Royals were done scoring, pitcher Jim Rooker made sure they kept a comfortable lead. After a double and a walk in the first, Rooker retired 11 of the next 12 hitters. Don Wert broke that streak with a home run leading off the fifth, but Rooker then struck out the side, three of his four strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Rooker started the eighth but left after a single and a walk. Moe Drabowsky came on in relief and recovered from a hit batter and run-scoring wild pitch to retire the side with the Royals still on top 7-2. Drabowsky allowed a two-out double in the ninth but finished out the game to pick up his 10th save.
The win moved the Royals to 42-58 on the season. That was good for fourth place in the AL West, 19 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET196907270.shtml