This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: June 23

It was a hit or miss night–almost literally–for the Royals, as they dropped a 4-1 loss to the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis.

Kansas City managed 10 hits, but Twins starter Jerry Koosman tied a Minnesota team record (at the time) with 15 strikeouts. The four Royals who managed to get hits all got at least two, but U L Washington and Hal McRae each went hitless and struck out all four times they batted. Amos Otis went 0-4 with three strikeouts.

Royals starter Larry Gura pitched well outside of the third inning, when the Twins got four of their six hits off him. With one out, Rick Sofield doubled. Butch Wynegar drove him in with a single, and Roy Smalley followed with a home run for a 3-0 lead. Jose Morales added a two-out double, but nothing came of that. Gura pitched a complete game, striking out three and walking one.

The Royals did have some scoring chances. Singles by John Wathan and Clint Hurdle and a walk by Dave Chalk loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but Koosman struck out Frank White to end the inning. In the third, Willie Wilson led off with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt. He stole third, but strikeouts of McRae and Otis left him there.

Kansas City finally got on the board in the sixth. With one out, Willie Aikens doubled. Wathan singled, and Aikens came home when left fielder Sofield kicked the ball. Hurdled doubled, with Wathan stopping at third, but once again Koosman got out of the jam. Chalk struck out and White hit a harmless fly ball and the inning was over.

Koosman didn’t need it, but Minnesota gave him an insurance run in the eighth. Smalley walked and Ron Jackson reached on an error by Chalk at third base. With two outs, John Castino singled to score Smalley with an unearned run.

Wilson tripled with two outs in the ninth, but Koosman fittingly struck out Washington to end the game.

With the loss, the Royals dropped to 40-27. They still held a nine-game lead over Chicago 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/MIN/MIN198006230.shtml

Today’s birthdays: None

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