Big innings were the story of the day as the Royals and Red Sox split a doubleheader at Municipal Stadium, with Boston winning the first game 10-1 before the Royals withstood a late rally for an 8-7 win in the second game.
The two teams combined for six innings where they scored more than one run. The first one came in the fifth inning of the first game. Royals starter Bill Butler had allowed only one hit through four innings, but the wheels came off in the fifth. After two walks to start the inning, George Scott unloaded a three-run home run. Russ Gibson followed with a single, but Butler retired the next two hitters. However, he could not escape the inning, as Dalton Jones and Carl Yastrzemski each doubled, giving Boston a 5-0 lead. Reliever Chris Zachary got the final out of the frame. But Boston kept scoring, with a Scott single driving in another run in the sixth.
The Royals responded with a run in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Jerry Adair singled and Jackie Hernandez doubled. Joe Foy, hitting for Zachary, grounded out with Adair scoring. For Kansas City, who had the bases loaded in the first without scoring, it was another case of failing to fully capitalize on a scoring chance.
Red Sox starter Mike Nagy was the beneficiary of all this offense. He pitched a complete game with one of the odder lines you might see from a complete-game winner: seven hits, one earned run, nine walks, and only one strikeout.
In the second game, it was the Royals’ turn to enjoy some big innings. In the second inning, Red Sox starter Jim Lonborg got two quick outs, but Ellie Rodriguez kept the inning alive with a single. Jackie Hernandez walked, and pitcher Jim Rooker, who was a pretty good hitter, drove in Rodriguez with a single. Pat Kelly followed that with a three-run home run for a 4-0 lead.
Rooker pitched well through five innings, but things changed in the sixth. Two walks started the inning before Rooker got the next two men out. Rico Petrocelli singled to drive in both runners and cut the KC lead to 4-2. Another walk prompted the Royals to bring in reliever Moe Drabowsky, who walked Tony Conigliaro to load the bases. But Drabowsky got a groundout to end the inning.
The Royals responded with two runs in their half of the sixth. With one out, Hernandez reached on a bunt single. After Drabowsky bunted him to second, the Red Sox intentionally walked Kelly. That backfired when Foy and Mike Fiore delivered RBI singles. A Buck Martinez home run in the seventh pushed the Royals’ lead to 7-2.
But just when it looked like Kansas City might cruise to an easy win, Boston rallied in the eighth. With one out, Yastrzemski homered off Drabowsky. Petrocelli doubled, and with two out, Conigliaro delivered an RBI single. Joe Lahoud followed with a two-run home run to cut the Royals’ lead to 7-6.
Kansas City got an insurance run in the eighth as Drabowsky led off with a double. Kelly reached on a bunt single, with Drabowsky taking third. Sparky Lyle’s wild pitch scored Drabowsky.
That turned out to be the difference in the game. In the ninth, Drabowsky hit Jerry Moses with a pitch. Syd O’Brien doubled him in and the Red Sox had the tying run in scoring position with no outs. Galen Cisco relieved Drabowsky and worked through the heart of the Boston order, getting three groundouts to end the game.
The doubleheader split gave the Royals a record of 48-69 on the season. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 21.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play (game one): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196908161.shtml
Box score and play-by-play (game two): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196908162.shtml