With a three-game losing streak ongoing and a 3-0 deficit after an inning and a half, things looked grim for Kansas City on Sunday afternoon at Royals Stadium. But home runs by Amos Otis and Willie Aikens turned things around, as the Royals scored seven unanswered runs on their way to a 7-4 win over Milwaukee.
Otis led off the second with his fifth home run of the year, off Brewers starter Mike Caldwell. With one out, Aikens pounded his eighth roundtripper of the season. Kansas City tacked on one more run in the inning, as Dave Chalk doubled with two outs and scored on Frank White’s single, which snapped an 0-21 skid for the second baseman.
The score remained tied at 3-3 until the fifth. White led off with a single. With one out, U L Washington joined the home run parade, with his third one of the season giving KC a 5-3 lead.
Kansas City added a run in the sixth. With one out, Aikens and Clint Hurdle hit back-to-back singles, and an error on left fielder Ben Ogilvie on Hurdle’s hit allowed pinch-runner German Barranca and Hurdle to reach third and second, respectively. Reliever Paul Mitchell took over for Caldwell and intentionally walked Jamie Quirk to load the bases. White foiled the strategy with an RBI single, although Mitchell got the next two hitters to limit the damage to one run.
Hurdle singled with one out in the eighth and scored the Royals’ final run on Quirk’s double. Mitchell again got the last two hitters of the inning to limit the damage to one run, but KC took a 7-3 lead to the ninth.
Royals starter Rich Gale struggled at the start of the game. He surrendered a home run to Don Money with one out in the first, and two more runs in the second. Sixto Lezcano started that inning with a walk and took second on a Gorman Thomas single. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base. Gale struck out Ed Romero, but on a wild pitch that eluded catcher Darrell Porter long enough for Lezcano to score and Romero to reach first base. Charlie Moore’s sacrifice fly, which should have been the third out, instead was worth a run as Thomas scored.
But Gale righted the ship, holding the Brewers hitless after the second inning until the ninth. Although Ogilvie started that inning with a single and later scored on Jim Gantner’s single, Gale struck out the side in the ninth to finish out the win, his fourth of the year. Gale struck out six and walked one while lowering his ERA to 4.63.
With the win, the Royals improved to 40-26 on the season. They also jumped out to a 9.5-game lead over Chicago and Oakland in the AL West.
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/KCA198006220.shtml
1980 baseball news: In San Francisco, Giants great Willie McCovey announced his retirement, effective July 10th. However, his final game would actually come on July 6 in Los Angeles. McCovey retired with 521 home runs. He led the National League in home runs three times and was the NL MVP in 1969. McCovey was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1986, his first year of eligibility.
Today’s birthdays: None