The Royals seemed unprepared for the conditions, committing two first-inning errors and generally struggling as they were pummeled 12-3 by the Minnesota Twins on a sweltering Monday evening at Royals Stadium.
Minnesota scored four runs in the first, thanks in large part to three Kansas City errors. The game started with 95° degree temperatures and high humidity, and things went downhill from there. With one out, Rob Wilfong singled. Pitcher Renie Martin’s threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt, allowing Wilfong to reach second. Roy Smalley hit a grounder to shortstop U L Washington, who made a bad throw to third trying to stop Wilfong. The runner scored on the play and Smalley reached second. Ken Landreaux walked. Mike Cubbage hit a grounder to Washington, who again made a bad throw, this time to second. With the bases loaded, Martin got a popup for the second out, but Glenn Adams singled for two runs. Rick Sofield singled to load the bases, and John Castino singled for a fourth run.
The Royals got one run back in the bottom half of the inning. Willie Wilson and Washington started the frame with walks. Wilson stole third and scored on John Wathan’s groundout.
The teams traded solo home runs in the fourth. Castino homered in the top of the inning and Amos Otis hit his sixth of the season in the bottom of the inning.
However, the Twins opened up the game in the fifth. Cubbage hit a solo shot with one out, Butch Wynegar followed with a single, and Adams walked. Sofield singled, although Wynegar got thrown out at home after a brief rundown. That allowed the other runners to advance to second and third, and both scored on a Castino single.
Minnesota scored two more in the sixth, this time against reliever Gary Christenson, as Dave Edwards hit a pinch-hit home run after Smalley led off with a single.
Kansas City did manage one more run. In the seventh, Dave Chalk walked with one out and scored on Washington’s triple. Twins starter Darrell Jackson was able to finish the inning, giving him his second solid start against the Royals in a week. After holding Kansas City to one run and five hits on June 24, he gave up three runs on four hits in this one, although he did issue six walks. Jackson struck out seven in both games.
Minnesota closed out the scoring with two runs in the ninth against reliever Rawly Eastwick. Castino drove in yet another run, his fifth of the evening, with a single, and Hosken Powell scored on a wild pitch.
With the loss, the Royals dropped to 44-30 on the season. They still had an eight-game lead on Chicago in the AL West.
George Brett watch: On the disabled list with an ankle injury. However, he did get to take batting practice for the first time since suffering the injury back on June 10. Season stats: .337/.407/.609.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198006300.shtml
1980 baseball news: Speaking of Brett, he officially earned a spot in the All-Star game as the final voting totals for the American League were announced. Brett was the only Royal to win the voting at his position; catcher Darrell Porter finished about 430,000 votes behind Boston’s Carlton Fisk. Brett received the second-highest vote total in the AL behind California first baseman Rod Carew. Other players receiving starting bids were second baseman Paul Molitor of Milwaukee, shortstop Bucky Dent from New York, outfielders Reggie Jackson from New York and Fred Lynn and Jim Rice of Boston. The bad news for the AL was that Brett, Molitor, and Rice were all on the disabled list, and Dent had just been activated from the DL. Brett told reporters he didn’t expect to play in the All-Star Game, scheduled for July 8 in Los Angeles, as he still could not cut or twist on his ankle.
Today’s birthdays: Bud Black (1957), Mark Grudzielanek (1970), Mitch Maier (1982)