John Wathan’s inside-the-park home run put the Royals ahead for good as they took a 6-4 victory over the White Sox on a Saturday night at Royals Stadium.
The Royals trailed 3-1 as they came to bat in the bottom of the sixth, having managed just five hits (all singles) against Chicago starter Steve Trout. They strung three of those singles together in the third inning for their first run, and for the second time in the game they picked up three straight hits. George Brett led off the sixth with a single, and single by Darrell Porter and Amos Otis brought him home. Chicago called on their best reliever, Ed Farmer, to keep the lead. Wathan hit a sinking line drive to right field, where Harold Baines made a diving attempt to catch it. Baines missed and the ball rolled to the wall while all three runners circled the bases for a 5-3 lead.
Chicago scored a run off Royals closer Dan Quisenberry in the eighth to pull within one, as Jim Morrison led off with a double and Mike Squires followed with a single. But Kansas City added an insurance run in the eighth. Wathan singled with one out and Pete LaCock walked. Dave Chalk singled to load the bases. Frank White put down a squeeze bunt that scored Wathan.
Quisenberry then worked around two singles in the ninth to get his eighth save.
Royals starter Renie Martin had another solid start. Martin had not joined the rotation until early May but picked up his sixth win. He held Chicago to three hits in 6 ⅔ innings, although he did issue four walks. The White Sox did all their damage against him in the third, as two of those walks led to a Squires double that scored two runs and Chet Lemon’s RBI single.
With the win, the Royals improved to 27-18. They were in first place in the AL West, 2.5 games ahead of Oakland.
George Brett watch: 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI. For the first time since the second game of the season, his batting average was over .300. And just think, 10 days earlier it had been .247. Season stats: .301/.380/.511
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198005310.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Larry Owen (1955), Dilson Torres (1970), Mac Suzuki (1975)
3 thoughts on “This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: May 31”
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Have never been able to figure out how John Wathan had a 10 year career playing major league baseball. 5 WAR in 10 years. That’s hard to do.
It is hard to do now. When you have 14 or 15 position players (as most teams had in Wathan’s time), it’s easier to live with a guy who plays catcher and outfield, makes contact (albeit without much power), and runs well (and was apparently a good clubhouse guy). His two good seasons (1980 and 1982) are practically all of that WAR, and in current baseball I doubt he sticks around long enough to do that.