In just his third game back from a finger injury, Amos Otis drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, lifting the Royals to a 4-2 win over the Athletics on a Tuesday night at Oakland Coliseum.
Otis ruptured a tendon in a finger on his right hand while taking batting practice near the end of spring training. Despite not going on a minor-league rehab assignment, he was not added to the active roster until May 22 and didn’t appear in a game until the 25th. And when he came to the plate in the eighth, with two outs, the score tied at 2-2 and George Brett on first, he was 1-10 so far in his return to the lineup. But he laced a Brian Kingman pitch off the left-field fence for a double, bringing Brett in for a 3-2 lead.
The key hit helped the Royals regain the lead after they scored two runs in the seventh, only to see Oakland’s Jeff Newman tie it in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff home run. Otis keyed that rally In the top of the seventh, drawing a leadoff walk from A’s starter Kingman. John Wathan’s single moved Otis to third, and Clint Hurdle got the Royals on the board with an RBI single. Willie Wilson’s groundout scored Wathan from third and Kansas City had a 2-1 lead.
In the ninth, the Royals tacked on an insurance run, as Wilson reached on a two-out single. Frank White’s fly ball to left was dropped by Rickey Henderson, and Wilson was able to scamper home.
Royals starter Dennis Leonard then finished out his complete game with a little help from his defense. Mickey Klutts started the ninth with a single, and with one out, Henderson also singled. But Klutts was cut down at third by a great throw from Hurdle. Leonard struck out Dwayne Murphy, and the game was over.
Leonard allowed 11 hits, but nine of them were singles. He only walked two and struck out seven as he evened out his record at 4-4 after a rough start to the season.
With the win, the Royals moved to 25-17. They remained in first place, 1.5 games ahead of Chicago in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 3-5. Season stats: .281/.365/.512
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK198005270.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Mike Caruso (1977), Brad Boxberger (1988)