This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: July 11

The Royals started the game just as hot as the weather in Kansas City, scoring two runs in the first five pitches thrown by Detroit starter Jack Morris en route to a four-run first inning and a 7-3 win on a Friday night at Royals Stadium.

After daytime highs in Kansas City reached 108° and Royals starter Dennis Leonard pitched a scoreless top of the first, Willie Wilson began the big rally with a single. Hal McRae doubled, with Wilson stopping at third. George Brett doubled to score both runners. After Darrell Porter grounded out, with Brett moving to third, a sacrifice fly from Willie Aikens made the score 3-0. Clint Hurdle restarted the rally with a double, then went to third on John Wathan’s single. Frank White singled to score Hurdle and send Morris to the showers. Reliever Dan Schatzeder took over and retired U L Washington to end the inning.

Although Champ Summers homered to lead off the second for Detroit, Wilson answered with a home run of his own to start the bottom of the inning.

The Tigers tried to climb back into the game. Alan Trammell led off the fourth with a home run, cutting the KC lead to 5-2. With one out, Summers walked and Al Cowens doubled. But Summers was thrown out at home, with Washington handling Wilson’s throw and making a strong relay to Porter for the out. Cowens took third on the throw, but Leonard got a ground ball for the third out and the Tigers got just the one run.

Kansas City tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth. First, McRae singled with one out in the fourth. Brett’s double moved him to third, and Aikens hit a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Wathan doubled and scored after taking third on White’s groundout and coming home on Washington’s groundout.

Detroit did add one more run, as Trammell singled to start the sixth. He took second on a groundout, reached third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Summers. But Leonard, who allowed just six hits (although he did walk three), retired 12 of the last 14 batters in the game as he improved to 8-7 on the season.

With the win, the Royals swept the two-game series and improved to 49-33. They held a 9.5-game lead over Chicago in the AL West.

George Brett watch: 3-5, with doubles for all three hits. Brett scored a run and drove in the two runs in the first inning. Season stats: .348/.414/.629.

Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198007110.shtml

Today’s birthday: Blaine Boyer (1981)

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