The Royals scored two runs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings, only to commit two errors in the top of the 11th and hand the Texas Rangers a 7-5 win on a Saturday afternoon at Royals Stadium.
Kansas City trailed 5-3 as the ninth inning began. Texas reliever Danny Darwin was still on the mound after extricating the Rangers from a seventh-inning jam and working around two walks in the eighth. Darwin issued another walk to start the ninth, this one to U L Washington. Darwin retired George Brett on a popup, but Hal McRae doubled and Amos Otis came through with a clutch two-run single, tying the game. It was left to reliever John Henry Johnson to get Texas out of the inning, which he did with a pair of strikeouts.
Otis helped keep the game tied in the 10th. Royals starter Larry Gura, still in the game in extra innings, allowed a two-out single to Richie Zisk. Pitcher Doc Medich ran for Zisk and took second on a wild pitch. When Pat Putnam singled to center field, Otis charged the ball and threw home, cutting down Medich and ending the inning.
Dan Quisenberry took over for Gura after that. But the 11th inning began with a ground ball mishandled by first baseman Pete LaCock. That allowed Dave Roberts to reach base. Jim Sundberg put down a sacrifice bunt, but catcher Darrell Porter threw the ball into right field and Roberts reached third while Sundberg got to second. Quisenberry recovered to get two groundouts with the infield in, but Mickey Rivers got one through the infield and both runners scored. Johnson retired the Royals in order to finish out the game.
An error in the first inning served as a bookend to the Rangers’ win. Rivers led off the game with a single. Gura got Billy Sample to hit a ground ball, but Washington couldn’t handle it. Although Rivers was thrown out trying to score on a grounder back to Gura, John Ellis eventually hit a three-run home run to give Texas the early lead. All three runs were unearned.
Washington helped make up for his error in the third. Jose Cardenal doubled off Rangers starter Jon Matlack to start the inning, but was still at second with two outs. Washington singled to score Cardenal, getting the Royals on the board.
Texas answered with two runs in the seventh. Mike Richardt doubled to start the inning and Pepe Frias reached on a bunt single. With two outs, Al Oliver doubled and Texas had a 5-3 lead. That lead stood up until the bottom of the ninth.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 84-46. They still held a 19-game lead in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 3-6 with an RBI. Perhaps the only good news from this game was that Brett got six plate appearances. Since Brett had missed a month with his ankle injury, there was some concern that he would not reach the threshold of 502 plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. Also, Brett had now hit in seven straight since his 30-game hitting streak ended. Season stats: .406/.466/.672