A two-run sixth inning, fueled by walks, led New York to a 5-3 win over the Royals at Yankee Stadium.
The Royals were leading 3-2 when the inning began, with starter Bill Butler on the mound. Butler had issued only two walks through five innings, but his control deserted him in this inning. Frank Fernandez led off with a walk, and took second on a fly ball. Butler also walked Ron Woods and was on the verge of walking Jerry Kenney when the Royals summoned Tom Burgmeier from the bullpen. Ultimately, Burgmeier issued ball four to Kenney (although the walk was charged to Butler). Len Boehmer tied the game with a single, and although Burgmeier got pinch-hitter Bill Robinson to ground out, Woods scored the go-ahead run.
Kansas City built that 3-2 lead with a bit of help from the Yankees. The Royals scored the game’s first run in the second, when Lou Piniella led off with a double. He took third on a groundout, then scored on a passed ball. After New York took a 2-1 lead in the third, Kansas City regained the lead in the fourth. Mike Fiore began the inning by reaching on second baseman Horace Clarke’s error. Piniella then homered off Yankees starter Fritz Peterson for the lead.
Butler was solid for the first two innings, but the Yankees collected three hits and a walk in the third. Roy White drove in the first run with a single, and Clarke scored on a sacrifice fly, although the Royals got out of the inning by trapping Fernandez off first on the play and tagging him out in a rundown.
New York added an insurance run in the seventh when Gene Michael tripled and White hit a sacrifice fly. However, they didn’t need it as Jack Aker pitched three scoreless innings for the save. The Royals had a couple of scoring chances, but Ed Kirkpatrick lined out to end the seventh with runners at second and third, and Hawk Taylor and Pat Kelly made the last two outs of the game with runners at first and second.
The loss meant the Yankees won the season series, 7-5, and outscored the Royals 50-49 in those 12 games. It also dropped the Royals to 52-78 on the season. They were tied for fourth place in the AL West with Chicago, 26.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA196908310.shtml