The Royals caught a break from a Chicago fan, and used it to help get a 4-3 victory over the White Sox at Comiskey Park.
Nursing a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Royals starter Larry Gura allowed a leadoff single to Ron Pruitt. Gura recovered to get two flyouts. But pinch-hitter Kevin Bell waited out Gura and earned a walk. Greg Pryor hit a line drive to deep left, and a fan in the front row reached over the wall and snared it. That meant it was a ground-rule double, and Bell was stopped at third rather than scoring the tying run. Dan Quisenberry took over for Gura, and after hitting Jim Morrison with a pitch to load the bases, escaped the jam by snaring Lamar Johnson’s scalding line drive back up the middle.
Quisenberry wasn’t done walking a tightrope, as Chet Lemon tripled with one out in the ninth. But Quisenberry got a ground ball right to first baseman John Wathan as Lemon held at third, and then struck out Bob Molinaro to end the game and pick up his 21st save.
White Sox starter Britt Burns had baffled Royal hitters in three previous starts against Kansas City, holding them to 20 hits and five runs in 22 ⅔ innings. But on this night, the Royals collected 12 hits off Burns, who still pitched a complete game. The Royals took the lead three batters in, as U L Washington doubled with one out and scored on George Brett’s single.
However, Chicago quickly answered. Pryor singled with one out in the bottom of the first, and Morrison followed with a home run for a 2-1 lead.
The third inning was the key one for Kansas City. With one out, Willie Wilson singled and scored on a Washington double. After Brett grounded out, Hal McRae singled to bring in Washington and give the Royals a 3-2 lead.
The Royals added one more run in the fourth. This time, singles by Frank White and Wilson preceded Washington’s RBI single.
For much of the game, that looked like enough offense for Gura. The veteran lefty retired 11 of 12 batters after the Morrison home run, and worked around a single in the fifth and walk in the sixth with a pair of double plays. Gura improved to 15-4 on the season, although his ERA rose slightly to 2.07.
The win lifted the Royals to 63-39. They held a 12-game lead in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 1-4 with an RBI. Season stats: .388/.450/.671