The Royals scored one run in the top of the 10th, only to watch the Pilots come up with two in the bottom of the inning for a 7-6 Seattle win at Sick’s Stadium.
Singles from Juan Rios, Chuck Harrison, and Pat Kelly in the top of the 10th gave Kansas City a 6-5 lead. Kelly stole second but the inning ended when Moe Drabowsky hit a line drive to second baseman John Donaldson, who stepped on second for an unassisted double play.
Drabowsky’s bad luck continued in the bottom of the inning. He had pitched two perfect innings before the 10th, but Donaldson led off with a single. Drabowsky retired the next two hitters, but Tommy Harper smacked a game-tying triple. After an intentional walk, Wayne Comer ended the game with a single to right field.
The loss was frustrating for the Royals, as they held a 4-0 lead halfway through the game with possibly their best starter on the mound. Kansas City scored two runs in the third inning. Harrison led off with a single against Pilots starter George Brunet. Bob Oliver worked a walk, and with one out, Jackie Hernandez walked to load the bases. Scott Northey hit a grounder to first, but Greg Goossen misplayed it and two runs scored on the error.
The Royals added two more in the fifth. With two outs, Luis Alcaraz singled and took second on a wild pitch. The Pilots intentionally walked Joe Foy, but Buck Martinez foiled the strategy with a ringing double. That put KC up 4-0, although Martinez was thrown out at third to end the inning.
Royals starter Jim Rooker had been on a roll for nearly two months, posting a 2.44 ERA in his previous 11 starts. Through four innings of this game, he had allowed just two hits. But Gus Gil led off with a single and took second when right fielder Oliver booted the ball. Two groundouts scored Gil. Comer restarted the rally with a walk. Danny Walton singled, and Comer and Walton pulled off a double steal, although Goossen walked to load the bases anyway. Jerry McNertney singled to drive in two, pulling Seattle to within 4-3. Galen Cisco was summoned from the bullpen to finish the inning, which he did by getting Donaldson to ground out.
Seattle took the lead in the seventh, facing Tom Burgmeier, who hit Mike Hegan with a pitch to start the inning. Two grounders moved Hegan to third, and once again Seattle posted a two-out rally. Goossen singled to tie the game, then stole second. The Royals intentionally walked McNertney, and it looked like that would pay off when Donaldson hit a grounder to shortstop. But Hernandez couldn’t field it and the bases were loaded. Ron Clark’s single put Seattle in front 5-4.
However, Kansas City did come right back to tie the score. In the top of the eighth, Foy singled off Pilots reliever Bob Locker to start the inning. After Foy reached second on a grounder, Jerry Adair singled to bring him home and even things up at 5-5.
The loss left the Royals with a 56-82 record. That put them in fourth place in the AL West, 29 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SE1/SE1196909070.shtml