The Royals won their first encounter with one of the two AL expansion teams, dealing the Toronto Blue Jays a 7-6 defeat in Dunedin.
The Blue Jays started off hot, scoring six runs off Dennis Leonard in the second inning. Dave McKay hit a two-run home run and Sam Ewing hit a three-run blast in the outburst.
The Royals slowly chipped away at the lead, scoring single runs in the third and fifth innings before a four-run rally in the sixth tied the score.
Then rookie Clint Hurdle took over. The 19-year-old prospect robbed John Lowenstein of a home run with a leaping catch to end the seventh, then led off the eighth with the go-ahead home run that turned out to be the winning margin.
Roger Nelson picked up the win, as he pitched the final three innings without allowing a run, thanks to Hurdle’s heroics.
Today’s birthdays: Rick Reichardt (1943), Jose Mota (1965)