This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: June 25

Paul Splittorff came within inches of a complete-game shutout, but had to settle for a 4-1 win over the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis.

Splittorff held Minnesota to four hits through eight innings. He was content to let his infielders do the work, getting 20 outs via ground ball. Splittorff walked two and did not record a strikeout. But he entered the ninth with a 4-0 lead and got the first two batters out. Roy Smalley singled to keep the inning alive. Jose Morales hit a drive to center field that just eluded Amos Otis and bounced off the wall. That allowed Smalley to score. Dan Quisenberry took over and retired the only batter he faced to pick up his 13th save.

Kansas City gave Splitt all the runs he would need in the second inning. They loaded the bases against Twins starter Geoff Zahn to start the inning, with an Otis single, Willie Aikens walk, and John Wathan single. Darrell Porter grounded into a double play with Otis scoring, and Frank White singled to score Aikens.

The Royals did not score again until the sixth, when U L Washington led off with a single. Hal McRae belted his fifth home run of the year to double the KC lead to 4-0.

With Splittorff in command, that was plenty of offense. He retired 13 of 15 batters at one point before Smalley doubled and Morales walked with one out in the seventh. Splittorff then got one of the three double plays he induced, this one from Ron Jackson to end the inning.

With the win, the Royals improved to 42-28 on the season and earned a split of the four-game series with the Twins. They maintained 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:

Today’s birthdays: Dick Drago (1945), Bob Shirley (1954), Michael Tucker (1971)

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