After five straight one-run games, the Royals enjoyed a relatively stress-free 6-1 win over Oakland at Municipal Stadium.
Kansas City went 3-2 in that five-game stretch, and early on it looked like this game might continue the trend of close ones, as Royals starter Mike Hedlund and Athletics starter Blue Moon Odom went head-to-head for two scoreless innings. Kansas City broke through in the bottom of the third. Pat Kelly led off with a walk and reached second on a wild pitch. Then he stole third, his 40th stolen base of the year. After Ed Kirkpatrick walked, a passed ball brought Kelly home. A groundout moved Kirkpatrick to third, and he scored on a Jerry Adair single.
However, Oakland answered in the fourth, with a single, walk, and fielder’s choice loading the bases with two outs. Phil Roof worked a walk from Hedlund, forcing in a run. Hedlund was able to get Odom to line out to center to end the inning.
Kansas City then took advantage of Odom’s wildness for their biggest offensive outburst in some time. Walks to Luis Alcaraz, Kelly, and Mike Fiore loaded the bases with one out, and Lou Piniella rifled a two-out triple to the right-field corner to drive in three runs. That inning alone was better than the Royals’ run total for their previous three games, when they scored two runs in each.
With the 5-1 lead, Hedlund proceeded to turn in perhaps his best start of the year. He pitched a complete game, allowing seven hits and four walks while striking out eight. The A’s only had three singles and two walks after they scored in the fourth inning, with only one runner reaching third base.
The Royals tacked on one more run in the fifth. Adair led off with a single, took second on a groundout, and scored on an Alcaraz single. With Hedlund pitching well, the 6-1 lead was more than enough.
With the win, the Royals improved to 63-86 on the season. They also ended the season series with Oakland with the A’s holding a 10-8 advantage. However, this Royals win dropped Minnesota’s magic number to eliminate second-place Oakland from the division race to four. The Royals remained in fourth place in the division, 26 games behind the Twins.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196909180.shtml
Today’s birthday: Ken Brett (1948)