Clint Hurdle’s 10th-inning single helped the Royals overcome a lost eighth-inning lead and pick up a 6-5 win over the Yankees on a warm Tuesday night at Royals Stadium.
Pete LaCock led off the 10th with a single against Yankees reliever Ron Davis, who was starting his sixth inning of work. U.L. Washington bunted LaCock to second, and Willie Wilson’s groundout moved LaCock to third. Hurdle, hitting for Frank White, delivered the clutch single for the winning run.
Royals reliever Dan Quisenberry did allow the tying run in that eighth inning, but rescued Kansas City from falling behind twice in his 2 ⅔ innings. In the eighth, the Yankees loaded the bases with one out against starter Larry Gura. Quisenberry retired both hitters he faced in that inning, but Rick Cerone’s fly ball tied the game.
In the ninth, Willie Randolph led off with a single and was bunted to second. After an intentional walk to Jim Spencer, the Yankees sent Reggie Jackson up to pinch-hit. On a full count, Jackson swung at a possible ball four and grounded out, with Randolph and Spencer moving up a base. Quisenberry then got Bobby Murcer on a fly ball to end the threat.
Gura entered the game with an ERA of 1.89 but was tagged for five runs on 11 hits in 7 ⅓ innings. He also walked two while striking out five. The Yankees scored two runs in the second, as two singles preceded Cerone’s two-out double. A wild pitch then scored the second run.
In the fifth, New York started the inning with three straight singles, with Bob Watson’s hit driving in a run. Gura minimized the damage somewhat with a double play, although a second run scored on that play.
Gura did fare better than Yankees starter Mike Griffin, who only lasted four innings and allowed four runs on six hits and two walks. Griffin did not record a strikeout; oddly, Davis didn’t either, so the Royals went 9 ⅔ innings without one strikeout.
A two-out rally gave the Royals an early lead. George Brett singled and Darrell Porter doubled for a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
Kansas City retook the lead in the third. White led off with a double and scored on Brett’s fifth home run of the year. Porter followed with a walk but was forced out at second on a John Wathan grounder. Wathan stole second and took third on a Willie Aikens single. Amos Otis hit a fly ball to give the Royals a 4-2 lead.
After the Yankees tied it in the fifth, it took until the seventh for the Royals to recapture the lead. Brett led off with an infield single, and singles by Wathan and Aikens brought him home for a 5-4 lead. The lead didn’t last long, but that set the stage for Hurdle’s heroics in the 10th.
The Royals improved to 28-20 with the victory. They kept their 2.5-game lead over Chicago in the AL West, with Oakland falling back to 3.5 games behind.
George Brett watch: 3-5 with a home run, three runs scored, and 2 RBI. Season stats: .310/.387/.552
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198006030.shtml
1980 baseball news: The amateur draft started on this date. The Royals’ first pick, 16th overall, was pitcher Frank Wills out of Tulane University. Wills appeared in 15 games for Kansas City over the 1983 and 1984 seasons before being dealt to the New York Mets in the trade that brought Jim Sundberg to the Royals. Another player in that deal, catcher Don Slaught, was drafted in the seventh round and was ultimately KC’s most successful pick in the 1980 draft. The overall first pick in the draft was outfielder Darryl Strawberry, selected by the Mets from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles.
1980 news: In the presidential race, the last eight of the Democratic primaries are held. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts won five of the races, but President Jimmy Carter officially clinched enough delegates to ensure nomination at the national convention in August. Still, Kennedy refused to concede the nomination, claiming his strong showing was a sign that Carter was vulnerable to presumptive Republican nominee Ronald Reagan.
1980 news: The city of Grand Island, Nebraska, and surrounding areas, are hit by an incredible seven tornadoes in one three-hour period as a slow-moving supercell passed over the area. The twisters were part of an outbreak that spawned 29 tornadoes over two days, killing six people and injuring more than 400. In Grand Island itself, five people were killed and 200 were hurt. Damage was estimated at more than $285 million. In an interesting postscript, debris that could not be recycled and the remnants of burned debris were buried in a hole about seven feet deep and 200 feet in diameter. The resulting hill, called Tornado Hill by locals, is now roughly 40 feet tall and is a popular sledding spot in winter.
Today’s birthdays: Jim Gaudet (1955), Nelson Liriano (1964), Bryan Rekar (1972), Yordano Ventura (1991)