A late rally was snuffed out by Baltimore closer Tim Stoddard, and the Royals dropped a 3-1 loss to the Orioles on a Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
Trailing 3-1 as they came to bat in the ninth, the Royals quickly brought the tying run to the plate as John Wathan worked a walk from Tippy Martinez to start the inning. Frank White grounded into a forceout, but U L Washington singled and the Royals had two men on. Stoddard entered the game and retired Willie Wilson on a soft grounder back to the mound. With the tying runs in scoring position, Hal McRae grounded out to end the game.
The Royals were held to one run on just three hits by Orioles starter Steve Stone, who earned his 13th win of the season. Just days after pitching three perfect innings in the All-Star Game, Stone struck out six, although he did issue six walks.
Three of those walks came in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs. But Stone got Amos Otis to fly out, ending the inning. Stone walked Clint Hurdle to start the seventh, and he scored on a two-out triple from Wilson. After the game, Stone revealed his back had tightened up after the fifth inning, explaining the four walks in his last two frames.
Royals starter Renie Martin pitched well enough to win, holding the Orioles to six hits and two walks in 6 ⅔ innings. Martin struck out five. John Lowenstein gave Baltimore the lead with a solo home run in the second, but that was the only batter to reach safely against Martin in the first three innings.
After the Royals left the bases loaded in the sixth, the Orioles opened up their lead with two runs in their half of the inning. Al Bumbry led off with a double, and Rich Dauer walked. With one out, Eddie Murray doubled to drive in both runners. That gave the Orioles’ bullpen room to work with once Stone left the game.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 49-34. They led the AL West by 9.5 games over Chicago.
George Brett watch: 1-3 with a walk. Season stats: .348/.416/.624
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL198007120.shtml
Today’s birthday: Dan Reichert (1976)