Cleveland scored two runs in the seventh to break a 4-4 tie, on their way to a 6-4 victory over the Royals at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.
Birthday boy Tom Burgmeier was starting his third inning of relief for the Royals as Cap Peterson doubled to start the seventh. With one out, Dave Nelson singled and Peterson stopped at third. Moe Drabowsky came on in relief but Frank Baker tripled to right field to drive in both runs. Drabowsky was able to get the next two hitters, but the damage was done, as Cleveland’s Sam McDowell pitched three perfect innings for the save.
The Royals took a 3-0 lead early on but could not hold it. Facing Cleveland starter Stan Williams in the second inning, Lou Piniella and Joe Foy started the inning with walks, then pulled off a double steal. With one out, Indians second baseman Nelson dropped Jerry Adair’s popup, allowing one run to score. Foy scored on a groundout, with Jackie Hernandez safe at first. Singles by pitcher Chris Zachary and Joe Keough brought Hernandez around to score the third run.
Zachary, making his first major-league appearance of the year, was sharp through three innings, but Cleveland put up three runs of their own in the fourth. Baker singled with one out, and with two outs, the Indians picked up three straight run-scoring hits. First, a double by Ken Harrelson, then singles by Duke Sims (who took second on the throw home) and Lou Klimchock tied the score.
Zachary was able to escape the inning with the score still 3-3, but Jose Cardenal led off the fifth with a double and Burgmeier came into the game. Cardenal took third on a groundout, then pulled off a steal of home for a 4-3 lead.
But the Royals came back immediately to tie the score. Burgmeier led off with a single and reached third on Keough’s single. Paul Schaal hit a sacrifice fly to bring in the tying run, but the Royals could not score any more runs. Following Keough’s single, Williams and McDowell combined to retire 15 of the last 16 KC batters.
The loss dropped the Royals to 43-62 on the season. That put them 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/KCA196908020.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Tom Burgmeier (1943), Bombo Rivera (1952), Derek Botelho (1956), Humberto Quintero (1979), Onelki Garcia (1989)