Three singles in the 10th inning gave Minnesota a 2-1 victory over the Royals at Municipal Stadium.
Kansas City starter Dick Drago was still on the mound when the 10th inning started, after holding the Twins to five hits through regulation. But with one out, base hits by Rick Renick, George Mitterwald, and Graig Nettles produced the go-ahead run. The Twins then ran themselves out of a bigger inning, as Cesar Tovar, running for Mitterwald, was caught stealing and Nettles was thrown out at home trying to score on a Ted Uhlaender single.
Drago and Twins starter Jim Perry were locked in a scoreless pitchers’ duel for seven innings. Drago didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. Perry worked around two singles in the first but kept the Royals from advancing as far as third base until the seventh.
Perry tripled with one out in the sixth, but Drago retired Ted Uhlaender and Rod Carew to end the inning. The Royals failed to cash in an even better scoring chance in the seventh. Lou Piniella and Joe Foy started that inning with walks. Jerry Adair’s sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a forceout at third. Paul Schaal singled to right, but Tony Oliva cut down Foy with a strong throw home, with Adair advancing to third and Schaal taking second. After an intentional walk to Ellie Rodriguez loaded the bases, Perry struck out Drago to end the inning.
Renick homered off Drago to start the eighth, but the Royals tied it up in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Mike Fiore singled, sending Perry to the showers. Ed Kirkpatrick greeted reliever Dick Woodson with a double. Lou Piniella’s grounder scored Fiore to tie the game.
Kansas City had one more scoring opportunity, when Rodriguez doubled with two outs in the ninth. But Drago hit a popup to end the inning. Ron Perranoski retired KC in order in the 10th to record his league-leading 29th save.
The loss ended the season series between the two teams, with Minnesota holding a 10-8 advantage. However, the Twins outscored the Royals 82-62 over the 18 games, thanks mostly to two blowout wins. Eleven of the 18 games were decided by one run, a fairly good showing for the expansion Royals against the AL West champions.
Kansas City dropped to 64-91 with the loss, their fourth in a row. They fell into fifth place in the AL West, 30 games behind the Twins.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA196909240.shtml