This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: May 24

After coughing up a four-run lead (albeit with some controversy), the Royals scored in the top of the 10th to take a 6-5 win over the California Angels on a Saturday night at Anaheim Stadium.

Royals starter Rich Gale took the mound for the eighth inning with a 5-1 lead. He had pitched well, holding the Angels to five hits and two walks. But he walked Larry Harlow to start the inning. Gale was pitching to Carney Lansford when manager Jim Frey decided to change pitchers, calling on Dan Quisenberry. But the reliever walked Lansford (the walk was charged to Gale), and then walked Rod Carew to load the bases. Quisenberry got Dan Ford to ground into a double play, with Harlow scoring, but the Angels then picked up four straight singles. The last one, by pinch-hitter Ralph Garr, tied the game at 5-5 and also got Frey ejected as he argued for interference; California’s Al Cowens collided with second baseman Frank White on the play, preventing White from fielding the ball.

But Quisenberry rebounded to pitch a perfect ninth inning, and the Royals retook the lead in the top of the 10th. Facing reliever Mark Clear, Willie Aikens singled with one out. Pinch-runner Jerry Terrell took third on John Wathan’s single and scored when Pete LaCock singled to left field. Quisenberry stayed in the game and worked around two singles in the bottom of the inning to finish out the win.

Kansas City had held the lead from the first inning until that eighth inning rally. Willie Wilson drew a walk from Angels starter Freddie Martinez to start the game, then took third on White’s single and scored on an Aikens groundout.

However, Martinez retired 13 straight after the White single, and the score was still 1-0 into the sixth. The Royals manufactured a run that inning. U.L. Washington led off with a walk and stole second. He took third on a fly ball and scored on a George Brett single.

Like Martinez, Gale was quite good through five innings, holding California to two walks and two singles. The Angels picked up three straight singles in the sixth, with Ford picking up an RBI to cut the KC lead to 2-1.

The Royals came right back in the seventh to push the lead back to two runs. Wathan and LaCock started the inning with singles. Clint Hurdle’s sacrifice fly put the Royals in front, 3-1.

Kansas City then seemed to grab a commanding lead in the eighth. Clear took over for Martinez, and White doubled with one out. The Angels walked Brett intentionally, and a wild pitch moved both runners up. Aikens singled to drive in both runs and put the Royals up, 5-1. With Gale cruising, that seemed like a safe lead until the quick California rally in the bottom of the eighth, but the Royals would ultimately pick up the win.

Kansas City improved to 23-16 on the season, and they increased their lead in the AL West to 1.5 games over Chicago.

George Brett watch: 1-4 with a walk. Season stats: .259/.350/.472

Box score and play-by-play:

Today’s birthdays: Ellie Rodriguez (1946), Carlos Febles (1976)

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