All good things must come to an end, and so it was with the Royals’ eight-game winning streak. Kansas City couldn’t quite solve Detroit starter Dave Rozema, dropping a 5-4 decision on Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium.
Things looked great at the start for the Royals. George Brett led off the game with a home run, but Rozema would retire the next six hitters. Detroit tied the game in the bottom of the first, as starter Jim Colborn issued two-out walks to Rusty Staub and Steve Kemp before Jason Thompson singled.
The score remained 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Tom Veryzer singled and Ron LeFlore walked. Tito Fuentes singled to score Veryzer. Colborn walked Staub, loading the bases, before departing the game. Reliever Larry Gura got the second out, but Thompson singled again to drive in a run, giving Detroit a 3-1 lead.
The Royals had only managed two singles and a walk since the Brett home run, but came alive in the sixth. Hal McRae led off with a double and scored on Pete LaCock’s single. With two outs, Amos Otis belted his 10th home run of the season, putting the Royals in front, 4-3.
Gura escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, but wasn’t as lucky in the seventh. Kemp led off with a single and Thompson inflicted damage on the Royals again with an RBI double to tie the score. A groundout moved Thompson to third and he scored on Milt May’s sacrifice fly.
The Royals had a chance to tie the game in the eighth when John Mayberry singled with one out. Otis hit a fly ball to deep right field, but Ben Oglivie ran it down in front of the fence, then threw to first to double off Mayberry. Rozema would then strike out two men in the ninth and get a popup to end the game and Kansas City’s winning streak.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 53-39. They stayed in second place in the AL West but fell to three games behind Chicago.
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Today’s birthday: Henry Mercedes (1969)