A seven-run fifth inning was the difference as the Royals blasted Minnesota, 11-3, on a Tuesday night at Royals Stadium.
Kansas City came to bat in the fifth with the score tied at 3-3 and Twins starter Pete Redfern on the mound. Frank White, who entered the game in a 2-for-20 slump, started the fireworks with a home run to left field. George Brett singled and took second on a wild pitch. He then scored on Hal McRae’s triple, giving KC a 5-3 lead. Reliever Don Carrithers entered the game, only to see John Mayberry drive in a run with a single, followed by an Amos Otis home run to push the advantage to 8-3. Carrithers retired the next two hitters, but the Royals restarted the offense with singles from Tom Poquette and Freddie Patek before White lined one into the left-field corner to produce two more runs.
From there, it was a simple matter of watching Royals starter Jim Colborn tear through the Minnesota lineup, as he retired 12 of the last 14 batters he faced, working around two singles to start the eighth inning to earn his complete-game win.
Kansas City took the lead with three runs in the third. Patek started that inning with a double, followed by a White single. Brett grounded out, with Patek holding at third and White taking second. McRae grounded out as well, with Patek scoring on this one. Mayberry walked ahead of an Otis triple that drove in two runs.
The Twins promptly tied the score in the fourth, as singles from Dan Ford and Rich Chiles started the inning. Bob Randall grounded out, scoring Ford, and Borgmann walked. With two outs, Rod Carew singled to tie the game at 3-3.
But from there, Colborn settled in and the Royals’ fifth-inning explosion turned the game into a laugher. Kansas City tacked on a run in the seventh for the final 11-3 score. Al Cowens and Tom Poquette started that inning with singles, and Patek hit a sacrifice fly to close out the scoring.
Speaking of Poquette, he enjoyed his return to the lineup with two hits in four at-bats. The left fielder, who hit .302 in 1976, had been on the disabled list since late in spring training after a viral infection gave him chest pains. To make room on the active roster, the Royals placed infielder Dave Nelson on the DL; he had pulled a thigh muscle late in spring training and had made just one plate appearance in the first 10 games.
With the win, the Royals improved to 6-4 on the season. They were in third place in the AL West, but just a half-game behind Chicago and Oakland.
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