It was truly a team effort as the Royals trounced the Texas Rangers, 8-0, on a Thursday night at Arlington Stadium. Every starter except one for Kansas City had at least one hit, and five different players drove in at least one run.
The Rangers, beset by injuries in their rotation, turned to reliever Jim Kern to make his first start in four years. While Kern turned in two scoreless innings to start the game, the Royals began feasting in the third inning. With one out, U L Washington tripled. Willie Wilson walked and then stole second. Frank White tagged his second home run of the year for a 3-0 lead.
Amos Otis added to the lead with a solo home run in the fourth. In the fifth, with two outs, George Brett singled and stole second. Darrell Porter drew a walk, and Willie Aikens doubled to score Brett. Reliever Adrian Devine took over and ended the inning with no further damage, but KC still held a 5-0 lead.
Devine wasn’t as fortunate in the sixth. Otis led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a Clint Hurdle single.
The Royals tacked on two more runs in the eighth against reliever Bob Babcock. Washington walked with one out and stole second. Wilson reached on an infield single. Both runners moved up on White’s groundout, and Brett drove in both with a single.
Meanwhile, Royals starter Dennis Leonard was enjoying his best start of the season by far. Leonard had struggled through the first two months, entering the game with a 4-5 record despite a lofty 5.88 ERA. In this one, he held Texas to three hits, all singles, while walking two and picking up seven strikeouts. Mickey Rivers reached on an error to start the first inning and reached third on two groundouts, but no other Ranger made it that far the rest of the evening.
The win lifted the Royals to 30-20 on the season. As the winner in the only American League game on the schedule, they picked up a half-game on their nearest pursuers in the AL West, Chicago. Kansas City now had a 3.5-game lead in the division.
George Brett watch: 2-5 with another stolen base, his fifth of the year. Season stats: .323/.393/.568
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TEX/TEX198006050.shtml
Today’s birthday: Manny Pina (1987)