The surprising Toronto Blue Jays kept rolling, as Jim Clancy scattered six hits in a 3-1 win over the Royals at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
In just their fourth season of play (and after reaching 100 losses in each of the first three), the Blue Jays found themselves in first place in the AL East early in the 1980 season. Clancy made sure they held the lead at least one more day. He struck out three and walked three, but the Royals had more than one baserunnner in just one inning.
Royals starter Dennis Leonard pitched well, also scattering six hits while striking out five and walking four. However, a rough first inning gave the Blue Jays an early lead. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases to start the inning. Leonard then issued a walk to Roy Howell to force in a run before Otto Velez hit a sacrifice fly. Although Leonard escaped further damage with a strikeout and a groundout, Toronto held a 2-0 advantage.
Kansas City’s best scoring chance came in the fourth. With one out, Willie Aikens singled, and with two outs, John Wathan doubled. But Pete LaCock grounded out to end the inning.
The Royals finally got on the board in the sixth, when Hal McRae hit his second home run of the year. But Toronto answered in the bottom of the inning, as Velez launched a solo home run. Kansas City wasted a one-out double by Clint Hurdle in the seventh and Wathan’s leadoff walk in the ninth as Clancy continued to work around baserunners.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 9-8 on the season. They were only two games out of first place in the AL West, but they were in fifth place.
George Brett watch: Returning to the lineup after missing most of the previous three games with a bruised heel, Brett went 1-4. Season stats: .259/.365/.537.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR198004290.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Bob McClure (1952), Danny Garcia (1954), Steve Crawford (1958), Wes Gardner (1961)