This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: May 16

For the second straight game, Royals pitching was hammered for double-digit hits and runs. This time, it was the California Angels teeing off in an 11-1 win on Friday night at Royals Stadium.

After losing 16-3 in New York two nights earlier, the Royals had been outscored 27-4 in two games. Walks, 14 of them, were the main culprit against the Yankees. In this game, KC hurlers gave eight free passes but also allowed 16 hits and were not helped by some questionable defense.

Royals starter Rich Gale got through the first two innings without allowing any runs, but California exploded for eight runs in the third. Singles by Dave Skaggs and Larry Harlow started the inning. With one out, Rod Carew singled to drive in one run. The Royals might have escaped the inning there when Dan Ford hit a grounder back to Gale. But no one covered second on the potential double play, and Gale could only record an out at first, with Harlow scoring. Next, Carew stole third before Joe Rudi walked. Bobby Grich tripled for two runs and scored when Al Cowens singled. Cowens took second on the play when left fielder Rusty Torres let the ball skip past him. Reliever Marty Pattin took over for Gale, but singles by Freddie Patek (making his return to Kansas City after signing with California as a free agent), Skaggs, and Harlow produced three more runs. The inning ended only because Harlow was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double.

The Angels tacked on one more run in the fourth, as Rudi tripled with two outs on a fly ball Torres apparently misjudged. And California finished their scoring on Carew’s two-run single in the fifth. Pattin, who had been solid all season, was charged with five earned runs in just 2 ⅓ innings. At least Steve Busby and Gary Christenson turned in scoreless appearances after struggling in the Yankees game two nights earlier.

On offense, the Royals were held to five hits and two walks through the first six innings by Angels starter Bruce Kison. Kansas City didn’t score until Kison weakened a bit in the seventh, starting the inning with a walk of Torres and a single by Clint Hurdle. After a double play, Willie Wilson walked and Frank White singled for KC’s lone run of the game. With the score 11-1 at that point, it was too little, too late.

The loss dropped the Royals to 16-15 on the season. Still, they were only 1.5 games out of first in the AL West, although they were in fourth place in a tightly packed division.

George Brett watch: 2-4 with a double. Season stats: .282/.378/.535

Box score and play-by-play:

1980 news alert: With rookie point guard Magic Johnson starting at center in place of the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Los Angeles Lakers captured the NBA title with a 123-107 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6 of the NBA finals. Johnson scored 42 points, pulled down 15 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists as LA won its first title since 1972. The performance earned Johnson a Finals MVP nod, the first (and still only) rookie to win the award.

Today’s birthday: Heath Fillmyer (1994)


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