A four-run fourth inning and a solid start from Wally Bunker gave the Royals a 6-2 win over the Pilots at Sick’s Stadium in Seattle.
After two scoreless innings, Bunker battled his command in the third. Ray Oyler led off with a double, although he was thrown out at third on Bob Meyer’s grounder. Bunker walked Tommy Harper and Mike Hegan to load the bases, then walked Wayne Comer to force in a run. Bunker got out of the jam with a strikeout and harmless fly ball.
Meyer walked Joe Foy to start the fourth inning. He then had Foy picked off first but made a bad throw, and Foy reached second. He scored on Jerry Adair’s single with one out. Chuck Harrison followed with a single, but Bob Oliver grounded into a forceout at second. Bunker kept the inning going with a walk. Jackie Hernandez singled to score two runs, and Scott Northey drove in one run with a single for a 4-1 lead.
The Royals added two runs in the seventh. Northey led off with a single and stole second. One out later, Foy belted his ninth home run of the year for a 6-2 lead.
Seattle got one run in the fifth, as Harper singled with one out and stole second. He scored on Hegan’s single. But Bunker, a Seattle native, retired 10 of the next 11 hitters before the Pilots picked up consecutive singles in the eighth. Bunker then retired the next four hitters to close out the game.
The Royals improved to 56-81 with the win. 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/SE1/SE1196909060.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Fran Healy (1946), Mark Teahen (1981)