The Royals scored four runs in the third inning and held on for a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on a Saturday night at Royals Stadium.
Kansas City trailed 1-0 as they came to bat in the third, after Seattle’s Tom Paciorek stole home in the second inning on a double steal. Mariners starter Mike Parrott had four strikeouts in the first two innings, but Royals hitters started making contact in the third. Pete LaCock led off with a single, followed by Frank White and Willie Wilson singles to load the bases. U L Washington drove in two runs with a single. John Wathan’s sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third. An intentional walk to Darrell Porter loaded the bases but Parrott struck out Amos Otis and was one out away from escaping the jam with a 2-1 deficit. Instead, Clint Hurdle singled to drive in two more runs. Byron McLaughlin took over and retired Jamie Quirk to end the inning.
Seattle answered with one run in the fourth. Dan Meyer led off with a single and took second on Paciorek’s single. Both runners moved up on a groundout and Meyer scored on a wild pitch. Royals starter Renie Martin prevented further damage with two fly balls.
But when Juan Beniquez walked with one out in the fifth and Bruce Bochte singled, the Royals turned to reliever Jeff Twitty to face Meyer. Twitty had been called up to the majors twice already during the 1980 season, but hadn’t been used either time. Now, making his major-league debut, he retired Meyer and Paciorek to end the inning.
Kansas City added to their lead in the sixth. Otis led off with a double, but McLaughlin retired the next two batters. LaCock delivered the two-out RBI with a single, putting the Royals ahead 5-2. But Seattle answered in the seventh, as Mario Mendoza and Larry Milbourne started the inning with singles. Twitty got Beniquez to ground into a double play, with Mendoza scoring from third. After Bochte kept the inning going with a bunt single, reliever Dan Quisenberry took over for Twitty and retired Meyer.
Quisenberry picked up the save, but not without some drama. Paciorek led off the eighth with a home run, pulling Seattle to within 5-4. In the ninth, Milbourne doubled with one out and took third on a groundout. Quisenberry got Bochte to ground out to end the game for his 15th save of the season; the win was awarded to the rookie Twitty.
The Royals moved to 47-32 with the win. They enjoyed a 9.5-game lead over Texas 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/KCA198007050.shtml
1980 sports news: The men’s final at Wimbledon produced a classic match, as Bjorn Borg captured his fifth straight title in the event by outlasting John McEnroe, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 8-6. The match lasted nearly four hours and is still considered one of the greatest tennis matches ever. McEnroe fought off match point five times in the fourth set, earning an ovation after the match from the same crowd that had booed him during introductions thanks to his behavior in his semifinal win over Jimmy Connors.
Today’s birthday: Doug Bochtler (1970)