It was the kind of day Amos Otis and the Royals had been waiting for. Even though Kansas City split a doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins, Otis broke out of the slump he’d been in since returning to the active roster, collecting six hits in eight at-bats. After the Royals dropped the first game by a 2-1 count, Otis picked up two RBIs that proved to be the difference in their 4-2 win in the nightcap.
In game one, the Royals took an early lead but Minnesota ended up with a walkoff win after tying the game in the eighth. Otis scored Kansas City’s lone run after leading off the second with a single against Twins starter Darrell Jackson. Otis took second on a wild pitch and reached third on a groundout. He scored on John Wathan’s single.
Jackson would go on to dominate the Royals, holding them to five hits while striking out seven and walking two. Otis singled and stole second with one out in the fourth, but was stranded there. Otis also followed a Hal McRae walk with a single in the sixth, but Willie Aikens ended the inning with a double play. Finally, in the eighth, Dave Chalk led off with a single and pinch-runner German Barranca made it to third on a bunt and groundout. McRae hit the ball hard but lined out to center field to end that threat.
Royals starter Dennis Leonard had stopped the Twins on four hits and three walks through seven innings as he protected the 1-0 lead. But Butch Wynegar started the eighth with a double and Roy Smalley drew a walk. Ken Landreaux singled to tie the game. After a sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position and an intentional walk loaded the bases, reliever Dan Quisenberry rescued the Royals with two groundouts. The first one resulted in a forceout at home, and the game stayed tied at 1-1.
But Quisenberry wasn’t as fortunate in the ninth. Hosken Powell led off with a single and reached third on a bunt and a groundout. Smalley poked a single into left field for the win.
The good pitching continued in the second game. Royals starter Renie Martin limited the Twins to five hits through seven innings before Quisenberry turned in two scoreless innings for the save.
Kansas City picked up three runs in the third inning. Pete LaCock led off with a double off Minnesota starter Roger Erickson. But he was thrown out at third trying to advance on U L Washington’s groundout to shortstop. Wilson singled, and Frank White’s single got the Royals on the board. With two outs, singles by Aikens and Otis produced two more runs.
The Royals added another run in the seventh against reliever Pete Redfern. White led off with a bunt single. He then stole second and took third on catcher Wynegar’s throwing error. Redfern struck out the next two batters, but Otis picked up his teammates with an RBI single. The sixth hit for Otis tied a team record for hits in a doubleheader. It also completed a day that saw his batting average rise by 39 points, from .220 to .259. Otis had ruptured a tendon in his right hand at the end of spring training and missed almost two months of the regular season. He returned to the active roster in late May without a minor-league rehab assignment, so understandably had started slowly.
The Twins mounted a rally in the eighth, with Powell leading off with a double. Rob Wilfong reached on a bunt single, and the Royals again turned to Quisenberry. Danny Goodwin hit a sacrifice fly, and Wynegar singled. But Quiz got two groundouts to end the inning, then pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save.
With the doubleheader split, the Royals found themselves at 41-28. They held an 8.5-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 (game one): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN/MIN198006241.shtml
Box score and play-by-play (game two): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN/MIN198006242.shtml
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