The Royals rallied for three runs in the ninth inning and a 5-4 walkoff win over Oakland on Sunday afternoon at Royals Stadium.
Trailing 4-2 after Jeff Newman extended the Athletics’ lead with a solo home run in the top of the ninth, the Royals went to work against reliever Dave Giusti, who had retired four straight hitters. George Brett started the rally with a walk. Hal McRae doubled to left. Brett ran through the stop sign of third base coach Chuck Hiller and barely beat the throw home. McRae advanced to third on the throw. Al Cowens drew a walk, and Oakland turned to reliever Bob Lacey, who got a strikeout and a sacrifice fly from John Wathan that tied the score. Cowens was able to reach second on the throw home, so the A’s issued an intentional walk to Amos Otis. Pinch-hitter Cookie Rojas stepped to the plate and slapped Lacey’s first pitch into left field for a single. Cowens scored standing up and the Royals had an improbable win.
Oakland scored single runs in the first and third innings against Royals starter Paul Splittorff. In the first, Rodney Scott led off by reaching safely on an error by shortstop Freddie Patek. Marty Perez singled. A bunt moved the runners up and a Wayne Gross groundout scored Scott. In the third, Scott led off with a triple and scored on another error, this one from Brett, who fielded a grounder but made a bad throw home.
After A’s starter Doc Medich pitched three perfect innings, the Royals got on the board in the fourth. Brett and McRae started the inning with singles, and Cowens hit a sacrifice fly to score Brett.
But Oakland regained their two-run lead in the fifth, as Scott walked with one out and scored on a Perez double.
Medich retired nine of 11 hitters after McRae’s fourth-inning single. But Pete LaCock hit a solo homer with two outs in the seventh, cutting the Oakland lead to 3-2. Medich departed the game, turning it over to Giusti. With Newman’s homer as an insurance run, it looked like the A’s would get a victory. But the Royals had other ideas.
The win lifted the Royals to 45-37. They remained in third place in the AL West but picked up a game on first-place Chicago. Kansas City now trailed the division leaders by four games.
Box score and play-by-play:
Today’s birthdays: Hal McRae (1945), Johnny Giavotella (1987), Scott Alexander (1989), Will Smith (1989)