The Royals continued to struggle through September with a lackluster 6-2 loss to the A’s on a Saturday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum.
Oakland started the game with a pair of two-run innings against Royals starter Larry Gura. In the first inning, Rickey Henderson led off with a walk and Dwayne Murphy homered. Two batters in, the A’s had a 2-0 lead. Gura also allowed a walk after that but no further scoring. But the home run bug bit him again in the second, as Dave McKay doubled with one out and Rob Picciolo homered.
Gura worked out of trouble the next two innings, as the A’s got two walks in the third and two singles in the fourth, but no runs.
Meanwhile, the Royals’ offense blew a golden scoring chance in the first inning and again in the fifth. Willie Wilson and Frank White started the game with singles and then pulled off a double steal. But A’s starter Steve McCatty struck out John Wathan and Willie Aikens, then got Hal McRae on a popup. In the fifth, U L Washington singled and stole second with one out. Wilson reached on an infield single, and then he stole second, running his season total to 65. But White flied out to end the inning.
At last, Kansas City broke through in the sixth, although they once again failed to take full advantage of an opportunity. Wathan led off the inning with a home run. McCatty loaded the bases by walking Aikens and Otis, and hitting McRae with a pitch between the free passes. Clint Hurdle flied out to shallow center field. Washington bounced into a forceout at second, with Aikens scoring. Washington stole second, but pinch-hitter Jamie Quirk struck out. The Royals had cut the Oakland lead to 4-2, but could have had more.
And then the A’s answered with another two-run inning in the bottom half of the sixth. McKay led off with a single, took second on a bunt, and scored on a Henderson single. Henderson stole second and third, moving his league-leading total to 79, and scored on a Murphy bunt.
McCatty finished out his complete-game effort by retiring 12 of the last 13 hitters, starting with the Hurdle fly out with the bases loaded. Gura also pitched a complete game despite allowing nine hits and issuing six walks.
The loss dropped the Royals to 88-55, as they lost for the ninth time in 12 September games. Still, Kansas City led the AL West by 16 games, and their magic number to clinch the division remained at four.
George Brett watch: Brett missed his seventh straight game with an injured hand. Season stats: .396/.463/.668
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK198009130.shtml