The Royals jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, then needed two late runs for a wild 8-6 win over Detroit in a nationally-televised Saturday afternoon game at Royals Stadium.
Kansas City wasted no time grabbing the lead. Willie Wilson led off the bottom of the first with a double and stole third. But he was caught in a rundown when Frank White grounded back to pitcher Milt Wilcox. Wilson stayed in the rundown long enough for White to reach second, and George Brett singled to score White.
Jamie Quirk started the second inning with a single and stole second with one out. With two outs, Wilson singled. Quirk stopped at third but scored easily when White lined one to the left-field fence. Both runners had scored and White was headed for third when Tigers shortstop Mark Wagner threw wildly in an attempt to cut him down. The ball sailed into the Detroit dugout and White scored for a 4-0 lead. Brett followed with a single and Hal McRae’s double made the score 5-0.
But Royals starter Rich Gale could not hold the lead. Two walks in the third inning led to Steve Kemp’s single, a pop fly that Wilson lost in the sun, which drove in two runs. Kansas City got one run back thanks to consecutive doubles by Clint Hurdle and U.L. Washington in the third, but Detroit answered with three in the fifth. A walk, an error, and Richie Hebner’s double got Gale pulled from the game. Jason Thompson singled off reliever Marty Pattin to pull Detroit within 6-5 before Pattin got the last two outs of the inning.
Pattin would earn the win by allowing just one run in 4 ⅔ innings, but that one run tied the score in the seventh. With two outs, Champ Summers walked and Rick Peters tripled.
The score remained tied into the eighth. With one out, John Wathan tripled into the right-field corner. He scored on Dave Chalk’s sacrifice fly. Washington singled and Wilson tripled for an insurance run.
It looked like the Royals might need it, as two of the first three Tiger hitters in the ninth singled off Pattin. But the veteran got Summers to ground into a double play, and the game was over.
George Brett watch: 3-4 (all singles), 1 R, 1 RBI. Season stats: .364/.417/.364
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198004120.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Mike Macfarlane (1964), D.J. Carrasco (1977), Burch Smith (1990), Gabe Speier (1995)