Milwaukee scored eight runs over the final three innings, ultimately cruising to a 10-5 win over the Royals on a cool Friday evening at Royals Stadium.
Despite it being the first day of summer, game-time temperature was 67°. Royals starter Dennis Leonard retired the side in order in the first, but Milwaukee picked up an unearned run in the second. Ben Oglivie singled with one out and Gorman Thomas singled with two outs. Willie Aikens couldn’t handle a Jim Gantner grounder, and Ogilvie scored on the error.
The Brewers added a run in the fourth. Oglivie led off with a double and took third on a wild pitch. After Sixto Lezcano walked, Thomas singled to easily score Ogilvie. Leonard recovered to get a forceout and inning-ending double play.
Kansas City tied the score in the bottom half of the inning. The Royals had been held hitless by Brewers starter Moose Haas since Willie Wilson led off the first with a single. But after Aikens drew a one-out walk and Amos Otis walked with two outs, Clint Hurdle and Jamie Quirk delivered consecutive RBI singles to make the score 2-2.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the sixth. Aikens led off with a single and took second on Hal McRae’s single. Hurdle came through again with an RBI single, with McRae stopping at third and Hurdle taking second on the throw home. Quirk hit a line drive, but right at shortstop Ed Romero, who flipped a throw to third to double off McRae and end the inning.
Then Milwaukee took control of the game in the seventh. Romero led off with a single. Charlie Moore put down a bunt, but Aikens couldn’t field it cleanly and the Brewers had two men on. Another bunt moved the runners to second and third, and the Royals intentionally walked Cecil Cooper to load the bases. The strategy backfired when Dick Davis doubled to score all three runners and give the Brewers a 5-3 lead. After an intentional walk to Oglivie, Lezcano singled to score Davis. Reliever Marty Pattin took over for Leonard. Lezcano stole second and catcher Darrell Porter’s throw sailed into center field. Ogilvie trotted home from third. Pattin managed to get a popup and strikeout to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Milwaukee was not done scoring, however. With two outs in the eighth, Don Money doubled. That was followed by a Cooper double and Davis triple to increase the Brewers’ lead to 9-3.
The Royals did mount a rally in the eighth. Milwaukee reliever Bill Castro took over for the seventh inning and pitched a perfect frame, but walked Porter to start the eighth. Aikens drove Porter in with a double. With one out, Otis singled and Aikens stopped at third. A wild pitch brought him home, but the scoring stopped there as Hurdle lined out to center field and Quirk struck out.
The Brewers collected three singles and another run in the ninth before Castro finished off the game in the bottom of the inning.
The Royals fell to 39-25 with the loss. They still held an eight-game lead over Chicago in the AL West race.
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/KCA198006200.shtml
1980 baseball news: A couple of former Royals had…uh…notable days. Shortstop Freddie Patek blasted three home runs and a double to lead California to a 20-2 romp over Boston in Fenway Park. Patek had one home run on the season going into the game. Meanwhile, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, outfielder Al Cowens got some of the revenge he’d been seeking for over a year. While he was still a Royal in 1979, Cowens had his jaw broken by an Ed Farmer fastball. That happened in the same game where Farmer broke Frank White’s wrist with a pitch, leading the Royals to think those were not accidents. Now with the Tigers, Cowens came to the plate against Farmer for the first time since that night. Cowens hit a grounder to shortstop, but headed directly for the mound rather than first base and tackled Farmer from behind. In the ensuing brawl, Farmer got a bloody nose and ultimately filed a criminal complaint against Cowens. American League president Lee MacPhail wasted little time announcing a punishment, issuing a seven-game suspension and a fine only hours after the game. Ultimately, the two would patch things up, as they exchanged lineup cards before a September game and Farmer agreed to drop the charges in exchange for a handshake.
1980 sports news: The Cowens-Farmer fracas wasn’t the only notable fistfight of the night. In Montreal, Roberto Duran won a 15-round unanimous decision over Sugar Ray Leonard for the WBC welterweight title. This set up a rematch in November 1980, which famously became the “No Mas” fight when Duran quit near the end of the eighth round.
1980 entertainment news: If all of the above wasn’t enough entertainment, you could head to the local cinema and check out the new movie The Blues Brothers and their mission from God. I doubt anyone was lucky enough to find a concession stand selling four fried chickens, a Coke, and some dry white toast, though.