The Royals fell behind early and never recovered, losing 5-3 to the California Angels on Monday night at Royals Stadium.
California scored two unearned runs in the first. Gil Flores and Jerry Remy started the inning with singles off Royals starter Jim Colborn. A bunt moved both runners up, and Colborn then walked Joe Rudi to load the bases. With two outs, Don Baylor hit a grounder to second, but the normally sure-handed Frank White misplayed it and two runs scored.
Kansas City cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first. Hal McRae worked a one-out walk from Angels starter Wayne Simpson, and Al Cowens followed with a triple. John Mayberry walked, but Amos Otis hit into a fielder’s choice, with McRae being thrown out at the plate, and Darrell Porter flied out to end the inning.
The Angels wasted little time getting that run back, as Terry Humphrey homered with one out in the second. California added another run in the fourth, as Flores was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on a Remy single.
The Royals inched closer in the sixth. Mayberry singled with one out, and with two outs, Porter tripled to make the score 4-2. And they got even closer in the seventh. Freddie Patek walked to start the inning. Paul Hartzell came on in relief for the Angels. Patek stole second and pinch-hitter Pete LaCock reached on an infield single to shortstop Bobby Grich, with Patek staying put. Tom Poquette singled to load the bases. But Hartzell got a key double play from McRae; although Patek scored to make it a 4-3 game, the inning was much less promising. Cowens grounded out, and California maintained the lead.
Hartzell retired the Royals in order in the eighth and ninth to earn the save.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 15-13. They were tied for third in the AL West with Texas, with both teams three games out of first.
Off the field, the Royals announced that third baseman George Brett could miss a week of action with the elbow injury he suffered during the May 7 brawl in Texas. “We’ll take it day to day and see what happens,” manager Whitey Herzog said. “We may be able to use him as a designated hitter, but we’re hesitant to because we don’t want him to aggravate the injury.”
Box score and play-by-play: