Dick Drago pitched a gem, scattering five hits in a complete game shutout of the Cleveland Indians. Backed by a three-run second inning, Drago and the Royals cruised to a 6-0 victory at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium.
Drago, a rookie in 1969, made perhaps his best start of the year to pick up his fifth win. He walked one and struck out four. Cleveland only had one runner reach third base, and it came in the fifth, which was also the only inning the Indians had more than one baserunner. Drago issued his only walk of the game to start the inning, putting Duke Sims on first. A passed ball advanced him to second, and with one out, Eddie Leon singled. But Drago retired Russ Snyder on a short fly ball and Jose Cardenal grounded out to end the threat.
The Royals wasted no time taking the lead in this one. Facing Cleveland starter Gary Boyd, Joe Keough led off the first with a walk. He reached third when Ed Kirkpatrick doubled with one out, and scored on a Lou Piniella fly ball.
Kansas City added three runs in the second. Joe Foy led off with a walk and took second on a balk. He moved up to third on a groundout and scored on a Jackie Hernandez single. Drago bunted Hernandez to second. Keough walked again, and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. The Indians elected to intentionally walk Paul Schaal. That backfired when Kirkpatrick singled to drive in two more runs.
Schaal picked up an RBI in the fourth inning, lacing a double to left to bring in Drago, who had reached on a forceout. The Royals added an unearned run in the seventh, as Kirkpatrick led off with a walk and reached second when Cleveland third baseman Lou Klimchock dropped a popup. Foy singled to score the Royals’ sixth run. Drago retired 13 of the last 15 batters he faced to finish off the win.
The Royals improved to 43-61 on the season with the victory. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 21.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196908010.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Tony Muser (1947), Scott Anderson (1962), Gregg Jefferies (1967)