Roger Nelson held a potent Detroit offense to three hits and the Royals came up with a pair of three-run innings in a 6-2 win at Municipal Stadium.
Nelson walked two and struck out five in his nine innings of work. He lowered his ERA to 3.32 and picked up his seventh win of the year. His only bad inning was the fourth. After three perfect innings, Nelson surrendered home runs to Tom Tresh and Jim Northrup to start the frame. However, Detroit could only manage a Northrup single and walks to Tresh and Ike Brown the rest of the way, and did not have more than one runner on base in any other inning.
The Royals wasted no time grabbing the lead. Facing Tigers starter Mickey Lolich, Jackie Hernandez led off the first with a single. Scott Northey singled, and Luis Alcaraz drew a walk to load the bases. Lou Piniella singled for one run. Joe Foy drew a walk to force in a run, and Jerry Adair hit a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
Lolich settled in, retiring 15 of the next 17 hitters and keeping the score 3-2 into the seventh. The Royals’ second rally was ignited by Nelson, of all people. He tripled with one out in the seventh, then scored on a Hernandez single. With two outs, Alcaraz walked. Piniella and Foy each followed with RBI singles and the Royals had a 6-2 lead.
Nelson issued a walk with two outs in the eighth but pitched a perfect ninth to close out the win.
The win lifted the Royals to 54-79. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 27 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196909020.shtml
Today’s birthdays: David Glass (1935), Jason Hammel (1982)