An obviously tired Royals team seemed to go through the motions, dropping a lackluster 8-2 loss to Texas on Tuesday night at Royals Stadium.
On their 21st straight day of playing, and following a flight home from the East Coast, both courtesy of a makeup game against the Yankees, the Royals only collected four hits and nearly as many mistakes. The first of those came in the first inning. Royals starter Dennis Leonard walked Mike Hargrove to start the game. Bert Campaneris put down a bunt, but second baseman Frank White was slow covering first base, and both runners were safe. Claudell Washington singled to score Hargrove, with Campaneris stopping at third and Washington pulling into second on the throw home. Willie Horton drove in a second run with a sacrifice fly. With two outs, Jim Sundberg tripled to score Washington for a 3-0 lead.
Leonard retired the first two batters in the second, but walked Hargrove again. Campaneris doubled to give Texas a 4-0 advantage.
Kansas City cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second. Facing Texas starter Gaylord Perry, Darrell Porter led off with a walk. Amos Otis tripled to score Porter. Perry then got three groundouts in a row, although Freddie Patek’s one for the first out was able to score Otis.
Horton led off the third with a home run, increasing the Texas lead to 5-2. The Rangers held that lead into the fourth, when Patek doubled with two outs. When left fielder Washington bobbled the ball, Patek kept running, rounding third and heading home. He beat the relay throw from Campaneris, but somehow missed touching home plate and headed for the dugout. Sundberg quickly tagged him out and the Royals had missed out on a run.
The Rangers tacked on three more runs against reliever Larry Gura in the late innings. Horton continued to bedevil the Royals, driving in Campaneris with a double in the seventh. Toby Harrah launched a solo home run in the eighth. And singles by Campaneris and Washington and a sacrifice fly from Sandy Alomar pushed the Texas lead to 8-2.
The Royals mounted a rally in the eighth that was thwarted by another mental mistake. With two outs, Hal McRae reached on an error by second baseman Bump Wills. George Brett followed with a single. With Al Cowens at the plate, Sundberg and Wills combined on a pickoff play that got McRae for the third out. Perry then retired the Royals in order in the ninth to finish off the win.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 75-54. They stayed in first place in the AL West, but with Chicago also winning and Minnesota idle, their lead dropped to two games over the White Sox and Twins, and 2.5 over the Rangers.
Box score and play-by-play: