The Royals were oh-so-close to a win, but Toronto’s last-minute rally lifted the Blue Jays to a 2-1 win on a Saturday night at Royals Stadium.
Royals starter Paul Splittorff had allowed just four hits as the ninth inning began. John Scott led off with a single but Splittorff promptly picked him off first. After a fly out, Kansas City was one out away from a win. But Bob Bailor singled to left, then Otto Velez doubled to tie the score. After an intentional walk to Doug Ault set up a lefty-lefty matchup, Al Woods singled to put Toronto ahead. The inning ended after Gary Woods singled and Ault was thrown out at home by right fielder Al Cowens.
The Royals had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. Like Splittorff, Blue Jays starter Jerry Garvin took the mound seeking a complete-game win, having allowed just five hits. Amos Otis began the inning with a single, but was forced out on a John Mayberry grounder. John Wathan ran for Mayberry and reached second when Cowens singled. But Cookie Rojas and Freddie Patek could only muster a pair of popups, and Toronto escaped with the victory.
Kansas City’s lone run came in the third inning, when Patek led off with a double and scored on a Buck Martinez single. They managed to load the bases with two outs in the fourth, but Martinez fouled out to end the inning. That was their best scoring chance until the ninth.
Splittorff probably deserved better. He allowed three singles in the first inning, but a well-timed double play kept Toronto off the scoreboard. The lefthander then allowed just one single and two walks until the ninth.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 11-8. They were in second place in the AL West, just a half-game out of first. Five of the seven teams in the division were within one game of first place.
Box score and play-by-play:
Today’s birthday: Jeff Reboulet (1964)