A pair of big innings led the Royals to a 10-2 romp over the Cleveland Indians on a Wednesday night at Royals Stadium.
Kansas City overcame two early Cleveland runs with four of their own in the third inning. After leaving two men on in the first and the bases loaded in the second, the Royals finally took advantage of Indians starter John Denny. Frank White reached on an error to start the inning. With one out, Willie Aikens singled. An Amos Otis single scored one run. Clint Hurdle followed with another RBI single. John Wathan singled to load the bases, and Jamie Quirk doubled to drive in two runs, although Wathan was thrown out at the plate.
Kansas City scored again in the fourth, as Willie Wilson led off with a double against Cleveland reliever Bob Owchinko. Darrell Porter singled with one outs, and Owchinko hit Aikens with a pitch to load the bases. Otis hit a sacrifice fly to score Wilson, although that was all the Royals could manage.
Finally, the Royals blew open the game with five runs in the eighth. U L Washington led off with a walk and Wilson singled, finally driving Owchinko from the game. Sid Monge took over and was victimized by his defense. White put down a bunt, and Indians third baseman Dave Rosello threw wildly to first. Both runners scored and White reached third on the play. Porter singled to score White, and Aikens followed with another single. With one out, Hurdle walked to load the bases. Wathan grounded into a forceout, with one run scoring. Quirk capped the scoring with an RBI single.
The offensive outburst helped Royals starter Larry Gura overcome those early struggles. The veteran lefty earned his ninth win and lowered his ERA to 2.16 by holding Cleveland to seven hits in a complete game. Of the Indians’ seven hits, four came in the first three innings. Mix in two Royals errors and the visitors came away with two runs. In the second, Toby Harrah led off with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt. Harrah then stole third and scampered home when third baseman Quirk couldn’t handle the throw. In the third, Miguel Dilone led off with a double. He reached third on a fly ball and scored on White’s error on a Mike Hargrove grounder.
For added entertainment for the crowd of 23,736, the two teams had a benches-clearing incident in the eighth. With Cleveland rookie Joe Charboneau at the plate, Gura threw a pitch that went over his head. Charboneau and Wathan began jawing at each other, and the benches emptied, although no punches were thrown and no one was even ejected. After the game, Gura and Wathan accused the youngster of sneaking a peek at Wathan’s signs and claimed they were signaling for an outside pitch with the intent to throw inside. Gura said the pitch slipped. Charboneau denied he was stealing signs.
With the win, the Royals moved to 39-23. In Toronto, the Blue Jays swept the White Sox in a doubleheader, so Kansas City’s lead in the AL West swelled to 8.5 games.
George Brett watch: On the disabled list with an ankle injury. Season stats: .337/.407/.609.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198006180.shtml
Today’s birthday: Russ McGinnis (1963)