After watching their 3-1 lead vanish, the Royals exploded for four runs in the eighth for a 7-3 win over Toronto on a nice Wednesday evening at Royals Stadium.
The temperature was 74 degrees when Dennis Leonard threw the game’s first pitch. Minutes later, the Blue Jays held a 1-0 lead after Rick Bosetti doubled and Roy Howell tripled. But Leonard retired 14 of the next 15 hitters, with the only baserunner in that stretch erased by a double play.
Meanwhile, the Royals built that 3-1 lead against Jays starter Jim Clancy and reliever Joey McLaughlin. It wasn’t easy; Kansas City did not get a hit until the fourth inning, when George Brett doubled with one out. After Willie Aikens reached on an infield single, Hal McRae grounded into a forceout with Brett scoring.
Aikens walked with one out in the sixth and took third on McRae’s double. John Wathan’s single brought in one run, but the Royals did not score again in the inning as McRae was thrown out at home on Dave Chalk’s grounder to third.
With McLaughlin on the mound, Willie Wilson doubled with one out in the seventh. With two outs, Brett singled for a 3-1 lead.
But that lead was quickly lost in the top of the eighth. Leonard walked Al Woods to start the inning. Alfredo Griffin singled and Bosetti homered, and suddenly Toronto was on top, 4-3. Reliever Gary Christenson entered the game and kept the deficit at one by retiring all three hitters he faced.
Wathan started the eighth-inning rally with a double. With one out, Frank White delivered an RBI single to tie the game. Jamie Quirk hit a potential double play ball, but shortstop Griffin’s throwing error put runners at second and third. After an intentional walk to load the bases and a popup for the second out, Brett stepped to the plate. After blasting a foul ball deep into the right field seats, he laced one into the gap in right-center field. All three runners scored on the triple. Dan Quisenberry pitched a perfect ninth, and the Royals had a win.
The victory gave Kansas City a 2-1 series victory and a 7-6 mark overall. They were tied with Seattle for fourth in the AL West, 2.5 games behind Oakland.
George Brett watch: 3-5 with a double, triple, run scored, and 4 RBIs. The effort raised his average 41 points, giving him a season line of .250/.357/.521.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198004230.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Rich Thompson (1979), Emilio Bonifacio (1985)