The Royals played a sloppy defensive game, committing four errors, but Willie Aikens made sure they still came away with a win. He collected 4 RBI in Kansas City’s 8-4 win over the Indians at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland.
Kansas City took the lead early when George Brett hit his eighth home run of the season in the top of the first. But they gave it right back in the bottom part of the inning. With one out, Jorge Orta walked. Pitcher Renie Martin committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and Orta reached third. He then scored when second baseman Frank White committed an error on Cliff Johnson’s two-out grounder.
But the Royals exploded for four runs in the third inning. Facing Cleveland starter Len Barker, U L Washington led off with a single and stole second. Willie Wilson singled with Washington stopping at third. Hal McRae singled for two runs, although he was thrown out trying for a double. Brett kept the rally going with a walk and stolen base, although he injured his ankle on the play. Dave Chalk ran for him and scored when Aikens homered with two outs.
Cleveland narrowed the gap in the fifth, again with help from the Royals. Everything started with two outs when Orta walked. Mike Hargrove singled and Joe Charboneau walked to load the bases. Ron Hassey hit a grounder to shortstop, but Washington flubbed it and two runs scored. Reliever Marty Pattin took over for Martin and got the final out of the inning.
The Royals finally opened up the game with a three-run seventh inning. McRae, Chalk, and Darrell Porter all singled off Indians reliever Bob Owchinko to start the inning. Aikens doubled to score two runs, and White brought home the final run with a sacrifice fly.
Although the Indians added another unearned run in the eighth, Pattin and Gary Christenson combined to finish out the win in comfortable fashion. Pattin would pick up the win by pitching 3 ⅓ innings in relief, and Christenson worked a perfect ninth to end it.
After the game, the big news was Brett’s injury, as he was expected to miss at least three games.
With the win, the Royals had picked up six straight victories and improved to 34-20. They held a six-game lead over Chicago in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 1-1 with the home run and a walk. Season stats: .337/.407/.609
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE198006100.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Floyd Bannister (1955), Al Alburquerque (1986)