Washington rode a five-run inning to an easy 10-3 win over the Royals at Municipal Stadium.
Kansas City starter Roger Nelson was in trouble from the start. Del Unser started the game with a single, stopped at third on Lee Maye’s double, and scored on a Frank Howard fly ball deep enough for Maye to advance to third. After Ken McMullen walked, Bernie Allen hit a line drive to first baseman Joe Foy. The ball glanced off Foy’s glove, but second baseman Jerry Adair was able to grab it and flip to second for the forceout. However, Maye scored on the play for a 2-0 lead.
The Royals responded with a three-run inning of their own in the bottom of the first. With one out, Paul Schaal doubled and Ed Kirkpatrick walked. Foy delivered an RBI single. Lou Piniella hit a grounder, which shortstop Zoilo Versalles mishandled. Kirkpatrick scored on the error, with Foy reaching third. He then scored on Adair’s sacrifice fly.
At this point, the game looked like a potential slugfest on a warm Sunday afternoon. Both pitchers restored some order with perfect second innings, but the Senators exploded for a five-run third inning.
Nelson got the first batter of the inning, pitcher Casey Cox, but back at the top of the order, the Senators began getting hits again. Unser hit a bloop double down the right-field line. Maye reached on an infield single. Howard hit another run-scoring sacrifice fly. McMullen singled and Allen drove in two runs with a double. Ed Stroud singled to score Allen, and advanced to second on the throw home. That finished Nelson’s afternoon, but Versalles greeted reliever Tom Burgmeier with an RBI single, although Versalles was thrown out at second to end the inning with Washington ahead 7-3.
Staked to the big lead, Cox proceeded to pitch a complete game. He wasn’t exactly dominant, allowing seven hits and two walks with only two strikeouts, but the Royals would not have more than one baserunner in any inning after the first, and did not have another runner even reach second until Juan Rios doubled with one out in the ninth.
The Senators removed any doubt about the outcome with a three-run seventh inning, with McMullen driving in one run and Versalles bringing the other two home.
The loss dropped the Royals to 51-73. However, they did end the season series with Washington with a 7-5 advantage. Kansas City also fell into fourth place in the AL West, 23.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196908240.shtml
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