The Royals enjoyed a solid offensive effort up and down the lineup, as seven different players combined for nine hits and five walks in a 5-3 win over the Pilots at Sick’s Stadium in Seattle.
Kansas City quickly grabbed the lead, as Mike Fiore homered in the top of the first off Seattle starter John Gelnar. The solo shot was his second in two days and his 11th of the year.
The Royals added a second run in the third inning. Jackie Hernandez led off with a single, reached second on pitcher Dick Drago’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on Pat Kelly’s single.
Drago had an excellent evening on the mound, holding the Pilots to five hits and two walks as he pitched a complete game. He struck out four as he earned his eighth win of the year. Seattle got a single in the first but did not have another hit until Ron Clark started the fifth with a double. After Gelnar bunted him to third, Tommy Harper’s sacrifice fly got Seattle on the board.
But Kansas City was able to add an unearned run in the seventh. Ellie Rodriguez reached on shortstop Clark’s fielding error, and George Spriggs ran for him. Hernandez picked up his second single of the game. Gelnar and reliever John O’Donoghue got the next two batters out, but Scott Northey singled to score Spriggs.
Then the Royals added two insurance runs in the eighth. Facing reliever Diego Segui, Joe Foy started the inning with a walk. With one out, Buck Martinez doubled to score Foy. And with two outs, Drago capped his evening with an RBI double for a 5-1 lead.
The Pilots did have one more rally, as Steve Hovley started the ninth with a single and Don Mincher belted a home run to pull Seattle within 5-3. But Drago responded with three groundouts to finish out the win.
With the victory, the Royals improved to 55-80 on the season. However, as Minnesota also won, Kansas City was officially eliminated from the division race. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 28 games behind the Twins.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SE1/SE1196909040.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Ken Wright (1946), Frank White (1950), Kelly Heath (1957)