The Royals had lots of good scoring chances, but failed to capitalize on most of them as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston.
Kansas City collected eight hits and four walks but went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. They also grounded into five double plays, which set a franchise record that would be equalled four times before finally being broken in 2009.
After Boston starter Mike Nagy worked a perfect first inning, the Royals started getting baserunners everywhere. Ed Kirkpatrick and Buck Martinez began the second inning with walks, and Lou Piniella singled to score Kirkpatrick, with Martinez taking third. But Jerry Adair hit a grounder to third baseman Syd O’Brien, who threw home to cut down Martinez. With Jackie Hernandez up, the Royals tried a double steal. Piniella should have been out but O’Brien dropped the ball. However, Hernandez and Butler each struck out, leaving two runners in scoring position.
Kansas City started the third inning with two singles, but Nagy retired the next three hitters. In the fourth, Piniella’s leadoff walk was erased by Adair grounding into a double play. The Royals had two men on in the fifth but a caught stealing took the wind out of their sails. And then Kansas City hit into a double play in each of the last four innings.
Butler’s first start in Fenway, on June 6, was a tremendous performance, as he held Boston to five hits over 10 innings. He was not quite as sharp on this night, but still pitched well for the most part. Reggie Smith followed the Yaz home run with a double, but Butler retired 11 straight following that. That streak ended with a George Scott single to start the fifth. Russ Gibson followed with a double. One out later, O’Brien put down a bunt which scored Scott. A strikeout/caught stealing double play ended the inning with Boston only scoring the one run.
Butler worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. The Red Sox added their last run in the bottom of the inning, against Moe Drabowsky. Yastrzemski brought in O’Brien with an RBI single for the final tally.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 51-74 on the season. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 24 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS196908260.shtml