The Royals’ September slump continued with an ugly 8-3 loss to California on a Wednesday night at Anaheim Stadium.
Three errors on Kansas City accounted for five unearned runs, while Royals hitters left 14 men on base. The frustration began right away for KC, as Willie Wilson started the game with a single and stopped at third on a U L Washington double. But Angels starter Ralph Botting got two popups and a groundout and the Royals got nothing.
California scored first, pushing a run across in the second inning. Royals starter Renie Martin walked Jason Thompson to start the inning. Dan Ford singled, moving Thompson to third. Martin got a double play, but Thompson scored on the play.
The Royals loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth but Dave Chalk ended the inning with a fly ball. So the score stayed 1-0 in the Angels’ favor until the seventh, when the Royals finally got on the board. Jose Cardenal led off with a single and Wilson singled with one out. Reliever Don Aase took over for Botting and got Washington to ground into a forceout at second, but Frank White singled to score Cardenal and tie the game.
But then the Royals’ defense let them down. Normally sure-handed Amos Otis dropped Rod Carew’s fly ball to start the bottom of the seventh. Martin then walked Thompson and Dan Ford to load the bases with no outs. Bobby Grich grounded into a forceout at second with Carew scoring the go-ahead run, an unearned one. Bobby Clark singled for another run. Jeff Twitty relieved Martin and got a strikeout for the second out, but Dave Skaggs singled and California had a 4-1 lead.
The Royals answered with one run in the eighth. Singles by Willie Aikens and Otis set up pinch-hitter Onix Concepcion’s RBI single, which was also Concepcion’s first major-league hit. Angels reliever Andy Hassler, who surrendered the Concepcion hit, would load the bases by walking Wilson, but got Washington on a grounder to second, ending the inning.
The Angels then took advantage of two more Kansas City errors to put the game away in the eighth. With one out, Carew hit a grounder that Aikens mishandled at first. Bert Campaneris singled and took second on a throw to third that was too late to get Carew. After an intentional walk to Brian Downing, Marty Pattin took over on the mound, but Grich singled to drive in two runs, with Downing reaching third and Grich second when Wilson kicked the ball in left field. Clark walked to reload the bases, and a Rick Miller sacrifice fly and Skaggs single put the Angels ahead 8-2.
Kansas City would manage one run in the ninth, as Hal McRae reached on an error and scored on an Aikens single, but it was too little, too late.
The loss dropped the Royals to 87-53, as they had won just two of their first nine games in September. However, they still led the AL West by 17.5 games, and their magic number to clinch the division title dropped to six.
George Brett watch: Still held out of the lineup with his sore right hand. This was the fourth straight game Brett did not play. Season stats: .396/.463/.668
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL198009100.shtml
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