Detroit’s three home runs bested the Royals’ pair of home runs, as the Tigers picked up a 4-2 victory at Municipal Stadium.
Besides giving up three home runs, Kansas City’s main problem was collecting only four hits beside the home runs. Tigers starter Denny McLain did issue four walks, but the Royals went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. McLain also struck out six batters as he captured his 22nd win of the year.
Mike Fiore gave the Royals a short-lived 1-0 lead with a home run in the first, but the Tigers answered in the top of the second. Willie Horton led off with a homer, and with one out, Bill Freehan also homered.
Kansas City failed to take advantage of George Spriggs’ triple with one out in the third. Scott Northey lined out to first, and after Fiore walked, Lou Piniella grounded out to end the inning. The Royals also picked up two walks but no hits in the fifth.
Horton struck again in the sixth inning. Royals starter Mike Hedlund had only allowed two hits since the Freehan home run, but walked Al Kaline to start the sixth. With one out, Horton hit his 25th homer of the season for a 4-1 lead.
Joe Foy answered with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning, but the Royals could only manage two singles and one walk the rest of the game.
The loss ended the season series with Detroit holding an 8-4 advantage. It also ended the Royals’ season against the entire AL East; their last 28 games would all be against divisional opponents. Kansas City ended its inaugural season with a 24-48 record against the AL East, although a 1-11 mark against Baltimore and 2-10 record against Boston weighed that down.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 54-80 on the season. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 28 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196909030.shtml
Today’s birthday: Dave Clark (1962)