Despite taking an early lead, the Royals dropped another game to the Baltimore Orioles, a 4-2 loss at Municipal Stadium.
Orioles starter Dave McNally came into the game with a 14-0 mark on the season. Including his last two decisions of 1968, McNally had a 16-game winning streak going. Meanwhile, the Royals had lost six straight games against Baltimore.
So naturally, the Royals scored two runs in the first. With two outs, Joe Foy singled, then stole second and third, giving him 27 thefts for the season. Lou Piniella walked before a wild pitch scored Foy. Buck Martinez doubled to bring in Piniella. The two tallies represented more runs than KC had scored in three of their losses to Baltimore.
However, the Royals collected only seven more hits off McNally before he left the game in the ninth inning. They wouldn’t even have another runner reach second until the sixth inning.
That gave the Orioles time to chip away at the lead and Royals starter Roger Nelson. After two perfect innings to start the game, Nelson was able to escape a bases-loaded jam in the third. However, Baltimore scored one run in the fourth, on two singles and an Elrod Hendricks sacrifice fly. Then they tied the score in the sixth on Frank Robinson’s 26th home run of the year.
At last, Baltimore took the lead in the seventh. Davey Johnson led off with a single, but Nelson retired the next two hitters. McNally kept the inning alive with a single, and Don Buford doubled to drive in two runs.
The Royals would have more baserunners. A seventh-inning single was erased by a double play. They could not capitalize on a two-out double in the eighth. And after a leadoff single in the ninth by Buck Martinez, reliever Eddie Watt took over for McNally. With one out, Bob Oliver singled and Martinez stopped at second. With two outs, Ed Kirkpatrick singled, but Oliver was thrown out at third for the game-ending out.
McNally’s win tied the American League records for consecutive wins over two seasons and consecutive wins at the start of one season, equaling Johnny Allen of Cleveland in 1936-37. He was one short of tying the MLB record for consecutive wins…but he would lose his next start, ending the string.
The loss dropped the Royals to 42-60 on the year. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 20.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196907300.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Pat Kelly (1944), Clint Hurdle (1957), Mike Jones (1959)