Whether it was bad luck or a bad matchup, the Royals apparently were simply unable to do something the rest of the American League could do: hit Chuck Rainey’s pitching. The Red Sox right-hander defeated Kansas City for the second time in eight days, leading Boston to a 5-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.
After holding the Royals scoreless on five hits in a complete-game 7-0 win on May 3 in Kansas City, Rainey allowed eight hits in this game. He had entered the May 3 game with an ERA of 11.85 on the season and ended this game with a 5.68 mark. In fairness, Rainey would run his record to 8-3 with a 4.86 ERA before suffering a season-ending injury on July 3, so he wasn’t as bad as he’d pitched the first month of the season.
Boston tied the score in the second, as Jim Rice led off with a triple off Royals starter Rich Gale. Rice scored on a groundout to tie the game. The Red Sox would take the lead for good the next inning. Dwight Evans walked with one out, reached second on a groundout, and scored on Rick Burleson’s single. Burleson stole second before Fred Lynn homered.
With the score 4-1, Rainey mostly cruised the rest of the way. He struck out the side in the fifth, although he allowed a second run in the sixth inning. Hal McRae started that inning with a triple and scored on Porter’s sacrifice fly. But after that, Rainey only allowed three walks and one hit, with the Royals’ third double play of the game taking the wind out of a ninth-inning rally.
Boston finished the scoring with an unneeded insurance run as Rice homered in the eighth.
The loss kept the Royals from sweeping the three-game series, and dropped their record to 14-13 on the season. They were in fourth place in the AL West, three games behind Oakland.
George Brett watch: 1-2 before re-injuring the right heel that had been giving him problems since April 25. Season stats: .269/.364/.522
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS198005110.shtml
1980 news alert: Golfer Tom Watson, Kansas City’s favorite son, won the Byron Nelson Classic in Dallas by one stroke. It was Watson’s fifth win of the year and third in a row. It also gave him an opportunity for a bonus prize of $200,000 if he could win the Colonial National Invitational in Fort Worth the following week. The sponsors of the Nelson and Colonial tournaments had announced the bonus prize for any golfer who could win the two events.