Larry Gura pitched a gem, and the Royals’ offense made the most of their four hits in a 3-0 win over the Blue Jays at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
Gura dropped his ERA to 1.73 with his third shutout in five starts, as he held Toronto to just one hit and one walk. The veteran lefty only struck out two but was helped by some fine defensive plays, three of them coming on diving catches by center fielder Willie Wilson.
Toronto’s only hit came in the sixth, when Damaso Garcia led off with a double. After Gura walked Bob Bailor, the Blue Jays had a rally going. But Bob Davis hit a grounder back to Gura, who tossed to third for a forceout. A fly ball and strikeout later, and the inning was over with the game still scoreless.
Incredibly, Garcia’s hit was the first one of the game for either team. Toronto starter Jesse Jefferson was matching Gura zero for zero. Ultimately, Jefferson would allow just three hits and a walk before being pulled from the game in the eighth. Frank White was the first Royals baserunner, reaching on an error in the fourth, but was immediately picked off first. U.L. Washington drew a two-out walk in the fifth and then stole second, but a fly ball ended that scoring chance.
The Royals finally got on the board in the eighth. John Wathan started the inning with a single and reached third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout. Clint Hurdle then homered, his third round-tripper of the year. It was also Hurdle’s eighth extra-base hit, out of his 11 hits for the year.
Kansas City added an insurance run in the ninth when Hal McRae hit his third homer of the year, this one a solo shot off reliever Joey McLaughlin. Gura sealed the win with a perfect ninth, the final three in a string of 12 straight outs after that sixth-inning walk to Bailor.
With the win, the Royals improved to 10-8 and earned a split of the rain-shortened two-game series. Kansas City was tied for third in the AL West with Texas, with both teams two games behind Chicago.
George Brett watch: Brett had a day off, giving him a nice rest with a scheduled off-day for travel coming up. Season stats: .259/.365/.537
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR198004300.shtml
Today’s birthday: Jeff Reboulet (1964)