A pair of three-run innings were more than enough for the White Sox to cruise to an 8-2 win over the Royals on a chilly Thursday evening in Chicago.
Royals starter Paul Splittorff, perhaps struggling in the evening chill (gametime temperature was 46°), was not sharp. He allowed six runs in 4 ⅔ innings, on eight hits and three walks with no strikeouts. Although he got through the first inning with no damage done, Chicago put up three runs in the second, which started with a Chet Lemon single, Wayne Nordhagen triple, and Claudell Washington single. Washington would also score, on Greg Pryor’s sacrifice fly.
The White Sox basically salted the game away in the fifth. Junior Moore led off with a single. Jim Morrison doubled, with Moore stopping at third. Lamar Johnson hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead. After a groundout and intentional walk, Washington singled for another RBI. That ended Splittorff’s evening. Reliever Marty Pattin surrendered a single to Bruce Kimm to load the bases, then got Pryor to hit a grounder to shortstop U.L. Washington, who bobbled it. A run scored on the error, giving Chicago a 6-1 lead.
The White Sox tacked on single runs in the seventh and eighth innings against reliever Steve Busby. The veteran, still attempting to come back from rotator cuff surgery in 1976, saw his ERA balloon to 16.88 after giving up the two runs.
Meanwhile, White Sox starter Britt Burns was scattering nine hits as he pitched a complete game, his third in a row. Burns struck out eight Royals and only walked one. While Washington and Willie Wilson each had two hits, Frank White had the most successful night of any Royal. He belted his first home run of the season in the second inning, and drove in a run with a single in the ninth inning.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 12-12 and dropped the three-game series to their division rivals. They were tied for fourth in the AL West with Seattle, with both teams 2.5 games behind Oakland.
George Brett watch: Brett was still out of the lineup with his bruised right heel. Season stats: .255/.359/.527
Baseball news alert: Representatives of the players’ association and the owners met in New York to continue discussions as a May 22 strike date loomed. Negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement had been ongoing since late 1979, with free-agent compensation the primary sticking point. The players had agreed to the May 22 deadline after threatening a work stoppage during spring training and again at the start of the regular season.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA198005080.shtml