Frank White hit a two-out, two-run double off Ron Davis in the eighth inning tonight to give Kansas City a 4-1 victory over Minnesota and forge a first-place tie between the Twins and Royals in the American League West Division.
Davis relieved Mike Smithson (13-12) after Pat Sheridan blooped a one-out double. With two out, Jorge Orta was intentionally walked, and both scored on White's drive into left field.
Dane Iorg scored White with the fourth run on a single.
The winner was Charlie Leibrandt (9-6), who yielded eight hits through eight innings. Dan Quisenberry pitched the ninth for his 38th save.
Royals Manager Dick Howser was happy to see White at the plate in the game-deciding situation. "Normally Frank's a No. 6 or No. 7 hitter," Howser said. "But with all of our injuries (to George Brett and Steve Balboni), we've had to use him at No. 5 -- and No. 5 hitters are supposed to drive in runs. You want Frank White up there. He gets the big hit. He's done it throughout his career here."
"Nobody on this club is hanging their heads," Twins Manager Billy Gardner said. "We have a day off tomorrow (Thursday), and everybody is going to come back refreshed and ready to get 'em. There's a long way to go." The teams will play three games next week at Minnesota.
It was the second night in a row that White, who turned 34 Tuesday night, had delivered the winning blow. "I'm just going up to the plate and trying to be aggressive," he said. "I'll swing at a few bad pitches that way, but it seems to be the best way for me to get going."
But White, a veteran of the Royals' four division-winning teams of the late '70s, agrees with Gardner that being in first place the first week of September is nothing to get overly excited about.
"So many things can happen between now and the end of the season, it's just silly to get too high or too low at this point," he said. "The oldest cliche in sports still applies -- you just have to take them one game at a time. But we're playing pretty well right now and we can win it, sure."
The Twins had taken a 1-0 lead in the third. Ron Washington and Kirby Puckett led off with singles. Dave Engle grounded into a double play that sent Washington to third, then Mickey Hatcher singled.
The Twins also grounded into double plays in the second and sixth innings, with White, the six-time Gold Glove second baseman, making the pivot on all three. Each time, White's throw barely got the runner at first base.
The Royals drew even in the sixth with the aid of a double by Sheridan that ended a zero-for-18 string for the right fielder. Bucky Dent, making his first start at shortstop for the Royals, singled leading off and one out later, Sheridan doubled off the wall in right-center. Dent, forced to hold up to see if Puckett would make the catch, went to third on the play and made it 1-1 when Darryl Motley grounded into a fielder's choice.