It was a feast or famine game for the Royals, who scored five runs in the first inning but managed just five hits the rest of the game in a 10-6 loss to Texas on a Thursday night at Royals Stadium.
Texas starter Fergie Jenkins, who was making his first start since being arrested on drug possession charges on August 25 in Toronto, pitched like a man with a lot on his mind. Jenkins only got one out while allowing five hits and two walks. Willie Wilson started the game with a double and moved up to third on Hal McRae’s fly ball. George Brett singled for one run, and scored on a Willie Aikens double. Darrell Porter drew a walk, and Amos Otis scored both runners with a double. Clint Hurdle walked, and Frank White scored to drive in Otis. At this point, Texas called Dave Rajsich out of the bullpen. He ended the inning quickly by getting U L Washington to ground into a double play, but the Royals still held a 5-0 lead.
The Rangers climbed back in the game with three runs in the third, all off Royals starter Rich Gale. Pepe Frias started the rally with a single, followed by a one-out single from Bump Wills. Al Oliver singled for one run, and Buddy Bell doubled to score one more. Richie Zisk singled to drive in a third run, although he helped out the Royals by being thrown out trying to reach second.
Texas then pulled even in the fourth. Johnny Grubb led off with a walk and Jim Sundberg singled. Frias bunted the runners up a base. Grubb scored on a Mickey Rivers groundout, and Sundberg scored on a double by Wills. Now it was KC’s time to turn to the bullpen, as Jeff Twitty took over for Gale and ended the inning by retiring Oliver.
The Royals jumped back on top in the bottom of the inning. Hurdle led off with a single and reached third on two groundouts. He scored when Wilson singled.
But Twitty could not slow down the Rangers’ offense. In the fifth, Pat Putnam homered with Zisk aboard. Texas took a 7-6 lead on Putnam’s ninth roundtripper of the year. Texas added more runs in the sixth, as Twitty surrendered home runs to Rivers and Oliver, sandwiched around a Wills single. Now down 10-6, the Royals replaced Twitty with Marty Pattin, who retired nine of the 10 hitters he faced.
But Rajsich had the Royals’ number. He picked up the win as he worked 8 ⅔ innings, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. Rajsich had taken the mound with a 6.87 ERA but knocked a full run off that, as he finished the game with a 5.79 mark for the season.
The loss ended the Royals’ five-game winning streak as they fell to 83-45 on the season. However, they still had an 18-game lead in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 1-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Season stats: .404/.466/.668
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198008280.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Lou Piniella (1943), Mark Ryal (1960), Jay Witasick (1972), Kit Pellow (1973), Ryan Madson (1980), Kelvin Gutierrez (1994)