Two late-inning runs proved to be the difference as the Minnesota Twins defeated Kansas City, 8-6, at Royals Stadium.
After a Royals rally tied the score in the sixth, the Twins pushed across single runs in the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Glenn Borgmann worked a leadoff walk from reliever Steve Mingori. After a sacrifice bunt and a harmless fly out, Rod Carew tripled to give Minnesota the lead. In the eighth, Larry Hisle welcomed new pitcher Doug Bird to the mound with a single, then stole second and scored on Dan Ford’s single.
The Royals were battling from behind most of the evening, as Minnesota scored two runs in the first. With one out, Roy Smalley reached on an error by Royals pitcher Dennis Leonard. Carew singled, moving Smalley to third. Carew was caught stealing, but Lyman Bostock homered for a 2-0 lead.
Kansas City had its leadoff man on in each of the first two innings but had nothing to show for it. That changed in the third, as Freddie Patek singled off Twins starter Dave Goltz and then stole second. Two groundouts made it look like another unused scoring opportunity was in the offing, but Hal McRae doubled to score Patek, then was safe at third when Twins third baseman Mike Cubbage couldn’t handle the throw. Mayberry reached on an error by Carew at first base, with McRae scoring to cut the Twins’ lead to 3-2.
But the lead was short-lived. Borgmann singled to start the fifth, and Cubbage walked. With one out, Carew singled to tie the game at 4-4, and that ended Leonard’s outing. Bostock singled off Mingori for the lead, and a Hisle groundout brought Carew home to give the Twins a 6-4 advantage.
After a quiet fifth inning, the Royals rallied in the sixth. Amos Otis and Darrell Porter started the inning with singles, chasing Goltz from the game. Reliever Tom Johnson allowed a double to Cowens and a sacrifice fly by LaCock tied the game once again. However, Johnson would retire the last 12 hitters he faced, while his teammates came up with the go-ahead runs.
The Royals dropped to 5-4 with the loss.
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