The day after their 16-game winning streak was snapped, the Royals began working on another one with a 7-5 win over Seattle on Saturday night at Royals Stadium.
Kansas City showed no hangover after the end of the franchise-record streak, putting up two runs in the first against Seattle starter Paul Mitchell. Tom Poquette led off with a triple, and Hal McRae doubled for a quick run. McRae moved up to third on a grounder and scored on an Al Cowens single.
The Royals left two runners on in the second but added a run in the third. Cowens led off with a single, prompting a pitching change for the Mariners. Tom House got two outs but Amos Otis tripled to score Cowens for a 3-0 lead.
Royals starter Mark Littell pitched three scoreless innings to start the game and struck out the first two batters in the fourth, but Leroy Stanton got Seattle on the board with a home run. Dan Meyer followed that with a single and Bill Stein doubled, cutting the KC lead to 3-2.
But the Royals responded in the bottom of the fourth. Frank White started the rally with a single. Joe Zdeb, hitting for Poquette, singled as well. McRae doubled to drive in one run. George Brett’s grounder handcuffed shortstop Jimmy Sexton, and Zdeb scored. Sexton jammed his finger on the play and was replaced by Craig Reynolds. Meanwhile, Diego Segui replaced House on the mound. Segui got Cowens to hit a grounder back to the mound and threw home to cut down McRae trying to score, then the Mariners trapped Cowens in a rundown between first and second and tagged him out. That turned the inning around, and it ended with the Royals ahead, 5-2.
Littell could not make it through the fifth inning. Reynolds drew a walk to start the frame. With one out, Steve Braun and Julio Cruz both singled to load the bases. Littell walked Ruppert Jones to force in a run. George Throop replaced Littell and retired Stanton on a short fly ball. Larry Gura then took over but allowed a two-run single to Meyer, tying the game, before he struck out Stein to end the inning.
Cowens led off the seventh with a single off Segui. Cowens then stole second and reached third on a grounder. But Segui struck out Darrell Porter for the second out, bringing Otis to the plate. The center fielder belted his 16th home run of the year for a 7-5 lead.
Gura finished out the game, getting double plays to erase leadoff singles in the eighth and ninth innings. The lefthander picked up his seventh win of the season as he held Seattle to three hits over the last 4 ⅓ innings.
With the win, the Royals improved to 92-55. They now held an 11-game lead in the AL West, with Texas slipping past Chicago into second place. Kansas City’s magic number to clinch the division was five.
Box score and play-by-play:
Today’s birthdays: Orlando Cepeda (1937), Thad Bosley (1956), Ryan Jensen (1975)