This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: April 20

The Royals and Tigers traded five-run innings, but Kansas City was also able to score in four other frames to pick up a 9-6 win over Detroit at Tiger Stadium on a Sunday afternoon.

Kansas City jumped on Detroit starter Dan Schatzeder immediately with a five-run first inning. It started inauspiciously, with Frank White’s single sandwiched by two outs. But a Hal McRae single and Willie Aikens double produced two runs. After the Tigers intentionally walked John Wathan, a passed ball advanced the runners to second and third. Pete LaCock drove them both in with a double, and Bob Detherage doubled to drive in the fifth run.

The Royals tacked on one more run in the second, as George Brett hit his second home run of the season. But Detroit exploded for five runs in their half of the second against Royals starter Larry Gura. Two singles and two walks produced the first run. Alan Trammell doubled for two runs. Lou Whitaker’s sacrifice fly drove in another, and that would be the only out Gura recorded in the second. Two more singles cut the Royals lead to 6-5 and ended the lefthander’s afternoon. Renie Martin entered in relief, and after a single loaded the bases, got the last two outs of the inning to protect the lead.

U.L. Washington homered off Schatzeder in the fourth for a 7-5 lead. The Royals scored another in the fifth with a little help from Detroit. Brett led off with a walk and stole second with one out. After an Aikens walk, Wathan hit a grounder to second baseman Whitaker, but his throw to second was bad and everyone was safe. LaCock followed with a sacrifice fly for an 8-5 lead.

Martin had held Detroit to tree hits and a walk in 3 ⅔ innings, but walked the first two batters he faced in the sixth. Dan Quisenberry took over and immediately got the double-play ball he needed, but White’s relay throw to first was bad and one run scored. Undeterred, Quisenberry got another grounder and this time the Royals successfully turned two, ending the inning.

Kansas City got an insurance run in the eighth, as Clint Hurdle doubled and scored on Willie Wilson’s single. Quisenberry didn’t need it, as he pitched perfect seventh and eighth innings before working around a leadoff single in the ninth for his first save of the year.

The win gave the Royals a 2-1 series win over Detroit and evened their season record at 5-5. They were in fifth place in the AL West, 2.5 games behind Oakland.

George Brett watch: 1-3 with a home run, two walks, and a stolen base. Season stats: .250/.372/.528.

Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET198004200.shtml

Today’s birthday: Dusty Coleman (1987)

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