For the third straight game, the Royals enjoyed a seven-run outburst, this time chasing Baltimore starter Steve Stone in the second inning of a 7-0 win on a cool Friday evening at Royals Stadium.
Stone would go on to win the Cy Young Award for the 1980 season, but on this night he was merely an extension of batting practice. Willie Wilson led off the first with a double. Frank White delivered an RBI single. George Brett tripled for a second run. With one out, Hal McRae doubled to score Brett. After a strikeout, Pete LaCock hit a grounder to second, but Baltimore’s Rich Dauer booted it. Clint Hurdle followed with a home run deep into the right-field bullpen for a 6-0 lead. It was the first home run by a Royal at home for the season.
After Stone surrendered a single and a walk with one out in the second, reliever Sammy Stewart took over, pitching the remaining 6 ⅔ innings while allowing just three hits. Kansas City would add one more run, an unearned run in the seventh. Wilson reached on an error to start the inning, taking second on the play. Dave Chalk, who had entered the game in the fourth after Brett suffered a bruised heel, doubled to score Wilson.
The beneficiary of all this offense was Royals starter Larry Gura. The lefthander improved to 2-1 on the year as he scattered four singles and four walks en route to a complete game. Baltimore’s lone threat came in the eighth, when they loaded the bases with two outs. But Gura retired Eddie Murray on a fly ball to center, then pitched a perfect ninth to seal the win.
Perhaps the biggest team news came after the game, when catcher Darrell Porter appeared in the locker room. The catcher had been on the disabled list since early in spring training, when he left the team to check into rehab for his drug and alcohol addictions. Porter read from a statement, pausing at times as he struggled with emotion. Porter said, in part, “Six weeks ago God gave me the strength, courage, and determination to face my personal problems and to seek professional help…I have hurt my family, my friends, the great baseball fans of the Royals, my teammates, and I almost destroyed myself…I am sorry for what I have done and hope and pray that others will benefit from my bad experience. With God’s help, your patience and understanding, I will be a better man and a credit to my society. It is my desire to start working immediately to get into playing condition so that I will be able to make a contribution to the success of the Kansas City Royals.”
The win lifted the Royals to 8-6 on the season. They were in fourth place in the AL West but only two games behind first-place Chicago.
George Brett watch: 1-1 with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI before leaving with that bruised heel. Season stats: .265/.379/.571.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198004250.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Chuck Harrison (1941), Bob Johnson (1943), Dave Owen (1958), J.P. Howell (1983), Eric Stout (1993)