It took them a little while to get going, but the Royals eventually found their offensive stride, with consecutive big innings in a 7-3 win over the California Angels on a Sunday afternoon at Anaheim Stadium.
Angels starter Dave LaRoche, normally a relief pitcher but pressed into service because of a rash of injuries in the California rotation, held Kansas City to four hits through the first five innings.
The Angels held a 1-0 lead entering the sixth, when the Royals finally came to life. Willie Wilson and U L Washington started things off with singles. With one out, George Brett doubled to drive in Wilson. Reliever John Montague entered the game, but John Wathan reached on an infield single, with Washington scoring. Amos Otis, making his season debut after injuring a tendon in his left hand near the end of spring training, singled to score Brett for a 3-1 lead.
Royals starter Larry Gura continued his strong season and his mastery of the Angels. He threw his sixth complete game of the year and improved to 6-2 after holding California to five hits and two walks. Gura struck out seven and was charged with two earned runs. For his career, Gura was now 10-1 against California.
That unearned run California scored came in the first. With two outs, Rod Carew singled and Dan Ford walked. Joe Rudi hit a fly ball to center field, where the normally reliable Otis misplayed it. Carew scored but Otis recovered in time to throw Ford out at home, with second baseman Frank White on the relay.
The Angels did score one run after the Royals’ first big inning, cutting the lead to 3-2, but Kansas City put the game away with four runs in the seventh. Rusty Torres and Wilson began the inning with singles. After a passed ball moved them up a base, White singled for two runs. Brett hit his third homer of the year and KC had a 7-2 lead.
Although Rudi homered with one out in the ninth, Gura got two grounders to finish off the game.
The win was the fourth in a row for Kansas City and gave them a sweep of the three-game series. They were 24-16 on the season and now held a 2.5-game lead over Chicago in the AL West. The Royals also got good news off the field: catcher Darrell Porter, who was admitted to the hospital in Kansas City when he complained of chest pains before the team flight to California, was allowed to head to Oakland to rejoin the team. Doctors determined Porter’s chest pains were caused by a muscle spasm.
George Brett watch: A big day for Brett, who went 3-5 with two doubles and a home run. Season stats: .274/.359/.522
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL198005250.shtml
1980 news alert: A week after its massive eruption, Mount St. Helens suffered a second, smaller one. This one, at 2:30 am local time, sent a cloud of ash nine miles into the air. That ash combined with rain to fall as mud over a 200-mile path in northern Oregon and southwestern Washington.