During their September slump, the Royals had played some lackluster games. But this might have been the worst. Three errors in one inning gave Minnesota six runs, while Twins starter Jerry Koosman held Kansas City batters to three hits as the Twins picked up an 8-3 win on a Saturday afternoon at Metropolitan Stadium.
Royals starter Larry Gura had two starts left in the season and needed wins in both to reach 20 for the year. He started off great, with two perfect innings, but things quickly unraveled in the third. Ron Jackson singled to start the inning, followed by a Bombo Rivera double. Dave Edwards tripled for a 2-0 lead. Gary Ward didn’t follow the pattern, collecting an RBI single instead of a home run, but an error by first baseman Willie Aikens allowed Ward to take second. John Castino hit a grounder booted by shortstop Onix Concepcion, and Roy Smalley reached when third baseman George Brett mishandled a ground ball. Three plays, three errors, and the bases were loaded. Jose Morales hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead. After an intentional walk and a strikeout, Jackson singled again, this time picking up two RBIs. That finished Gura’s afternoon, and it was up to reliever Marty Pattin to get the last out.
The Twins added two runs in the fifth as Morales and Butch Wynegar tagged Pattin for back-to-back home runs. That pushed the Minnesota lead to 8-0.
Willie Wilson led off the Royals’ sixth with the team’s first hit of the game, although Koosman had issued two walks and hit a batter before that. Wilson hit a grounder to shortstop Smalley, who threw wildly to first. Wilson took second on the error, although he was also credited with a hit. Wilson then took third on a fly ball and scored on Brett’s grounder.
Kansas City’s other runs came in the eighth, as Wilson drew a one-out walk and scored on Frank White’s seventh home run of the year. Koosman did walk four batters but struck out five.
The loss was the seventh in a row for the Royals, who fell to 92-63. Having already clinched the AL West title, they held a 13.5-game lead over Oakland.
George Brett watch: 0-4, although he did pick up an RBI. Season stats: .384/.449/.644
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN/MIN198009270.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Dave Wickersham (1935), Pedro Ciriaco (1985), Vin Mazzaro (1986)