The Cardinals took a commanding lead in the series with a 3-0 victory behind John Tudor. One more victory and St. Louis would celebrate its second World Series title in four years.
The Royals’ opportunity to break through occurred in the seventh. George Brett led off with a single. One out later Jim Sundberg singled .and with two outs, Steve Balboni walked to load the bases. Up stepped Hal McRae to pinch-hit for Buddy Biancalana.
McRae didn’t wait. He swung at Tudor’s first offering and hit a sharp ground ball to third baseman Terry Pendleton, who stepped on the bag for the force-out.
Later, McRae said he should have taken the first pitch, which was low in the zone.
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“I was sent up there to drive in runs,” McRae said. “I’ve driven in a lot of runs, but I’ve never driven in very many by keeping my bat on my shoulder. I wanted to drive in runs, which was my job.
“The last thing I want to do is let him get on top of me. He was making good pitches all night long, and if I let him get ahead of me in the count, then I’m really at a disadvantage. I don’t want to shift all the responsibility to the man batting behind me.”