Texas pitcher Bert Blyleven remained a mystery the Royals were unable to solve, as he led the Rangers to a 5-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Arlington Stadium.
Blyleven picked up his sixth straight win over Kansas City, limiting the Royals to six hits over 8 ⅓ innings. He struck out five and walked two to earn his fourth win of the season and continue a winning streak over the Royals that extended back to September 1975.
Kansas City’s two runs came in the second inning. Darrell Porter started the inning by reaching base on first baseman Mike Hargrove’s error. With one out, Pete LaCock doubled. Cookie Rojas singled to drive in both runs.
That only tied the score at 2-2 because Texas DH Willie Horton homered in the bottom of the first with Hargrove on base. Claudell Washington started the inning with a double against Royals starter Marty Pattin and took third on a sacrifice bunt. Hargrove hit a grounder to Dave Nelson at second, and he threw home in time to get Washington for the second out. But Pattin could not escape the inning.
Another two-out score, this time in the fifth, gave Texas the lead for good. Pattin walked Bert Campaneris to start the inning, and Hargrove singled. Pattin retired the next two hitters, but Toby Harrah doubled to drive in Campaneris. After an intentional walk, reliever Doug Bird got the last out of the inning to keep the score 3-2.
Unfortunately the Royals were being shut down by Blyleven, who retired 11 straight after the Rojas double. Horton added more insurance runs in the eighth, homering again with Hargrove on base. This one came off reliever Steve Mingori.
Kansas City did make things interesting in the ninth. With one out, Hal McRae singled. George Brett, who had been held out of the lineup after receiving an elbow injury in the previous night’s brawl, pinch-ran for McRae and raced all the way to third on a wild pitch. John Mayberry drew a walk. Reliever Darold Knowles took over for Blyleven and got Amos Otis to ground into a double play, ending the game.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 15-12. They dropped into a third-place tie with Texas, with both teams 2.5 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: