For the second consecutive night, the Kansas City Royals came off the mat and kept the American League West Division title race going.
Down, 5-2, they scored four runs tonight in the seventh inning, two on a bases-loaded single by U.L. Washington, and beat the California Angels, 6-5, at Royals Stadium.
Their second come-from-behind victory over the Angels in two nights left the Royals 2 1/2 games behind first-place California. The Angels have three home games left against Texas. The Royals have four left here against Oakland.
The Angels, who beat the Royals on Monday night and needed just one more victory over them for the division title, broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning with a two-run homer by Don Baylor, his 24th of the season. California went ahead, 5-2, in the seventh when Bobby Grich singled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bob Boone.
But, like Tuesday night, when the Royals trailed, 4-1, and won, 5-4, they bounced back. Frank White led off with a bloop double just inside the line in left and went to third on a single by Jerry Martin. After John Wathan struck out, Cesar Geronimo scored White with his third hit.
At that point, California Manager Gene Mauch replaced his starting pitcher, Bruce Kison, with Luis Sanchez. Sanchez hit Willie Wilson in the thigh with a pitch, loading the bases, and Washington followed with a sharp single up the middle, scoring two runs and sending Wilson to third. Wilson scored the tie-breaking run on George Brett's force-out grounder to second base off Andy Hassler, the Angels' third pitcher of the inning.
Bob Tufts, a September call-up by the Royals, pitched one inning for the victory, raising his record to 2-0. Dan Quisenberry, who relieved Tufts with none on, two out and Baylor coming up in the eighth, gained his 35th save of the season. He leads the AL in that department.
The Angels threatened in the eighth when Baylor hit an artificial-turf chop to third for a hit and stole second, but Doug DeCinces was retired on a short chop in front of the plate. Wathan, the Royals' catcher, caught it on the fly and retired him.
The foremost villain of Royals fans, right fielder Reggie Jackson, drew a prolonged chorus of boos when he came to bat with none on and two out in the first. He responded by lining an 0-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for his 37th home run of the season, giving the Angels a 1-0 lead.
That homer, breaking a three-for-30 slump, came exactly one week after Jackson made a substantial number of enemies in Kansas City by hurting White in a take-out slide at second during the seventh inning of a game in California. Sixteen uniformed policemen were stationed in right to protect Jackson from abuse by spectators.
Kison breezed through spots one through eight of the Royals' order before Geronimo tied the score with a homer, his fourth of the season to right-center. Geronimo started in center for the Royals because of the absence of Amos Otis, who is out for the season with a torn groin muscle.
The Royals threatened in the fourth but failed to score. With one out, Brett doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. But when he tried to score on a tap back to Kison, Brett was an easy out.
The Angels went ahead, 2-1, in the fifth when DeCinces doubled off the left-field wall and, two outs later, scored on Boone's single. White appeared to have a shot at backhanding the ball hit by Boone, but it scooted under his glove.
The Royals again tied in the fifth on back-to-back, two-out triples by Geronimo and Wilson. Wilson was stranded at third when Kison struck out. Washington on a 3-2 pitch.