Clint Hurdle drove in five runs to lead the Royals to a 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers on a Saturday night at Arlington Stadium.
Hurdle had just 18 RBIs on the season before his huge night. He got the Royals on the board first in the second inning. Facing Rangers starter Gaylord Perry, Amos Otis drew a walk with one out. Willie Aikens singled before Hurdle launched his fifth home run of the year for a 3-0 lead.
Texas got one run back quickly, scoring an unearned tally in the bottom of the second. Richie Zisk led off with an infield single off Royals starter Rich Gale, who then committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt. Zisk ultimately scored on a two-out single by Dave Roberts.
But the Royals extended their lead in the fourth. Otis led off with a single and took second on a groundout. With two outs, Frank White singled to score Otis. White stole second and, after U L Washington walked, Willie Wilson singled and the Royals had a 5-1 lead.
And Kansas City finally dashed any Texas hopes with more runs in the fifth. Reliever Dave Rajsich walked two batters, and with two outs, Hurdle slammed one into the right-field corner. The triple scored both runners and KC held a 7-1 advantage.
Texas did add one run in the sixth, but Gale retired 11 of the last 13 hitters to earn his second win of the year. Gale dropped his ERA to 5.11 by scattering eight hits over nine innings.
He walked one and struck out four.
About the only thing that went wrong for the Royals was the scare they got in the seventh inning. Rusty Staub lofted a foul ball down the left-field line. Wilson raced over to try to make a play, but missed the ball and ran into the fence. Wilson, “stunned a little bit,” (as he would tell the Associated Press) was actually carried off the field, but fortunately he had only injured his fingers and would be back in the lineup the next day.
The win lifted the Royals to 32-20. They extended their lead in the AL West to four games over Chicago.
George Brett watch: 0-4, snapping a 10-game hitting streak. Season stats: .325/.396/.564
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TEX/TEX198006070.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Roger Nelson (1944), Luke Farrell (1991)