The Royals had one of those days in the Bronx, giving up 19 hits as they fell to the Yankees, 13-7.
Kansas City starter Paul Splittorff didn’t make it out of the third inning despite being given a 3-1 lead. New York scored six runs in the third to take control of the game. Willie Randolph and Lou Piniella started the inning with singles before Bob Watson walked to load the bases. Reggie Jackson singled to drive in two runs and tie the game at 3-3. Left fielder Willie Wilson bobbled the ball, allowing Watson to reach third and Jackson to take second. Rawly Eastwick took over for Splittorff and retired Oscar Gamble. But then, after an intentional walk to Graig Nettles loaded the bases, a passed ball scored Watson. Rick Cerone singled for two runs, and Ruppert Jones doubled to score Cerone for a 7-3 lead.
The Royals answered in the fourth as Clint Hurdle belted a solo home run off Yankees starter Doug Bird, but Jackson homered in the bottom of the inning with Watson aboard to put the Yankees up by five. Gamble doubled and Nettles singled for another run before Eastwick got the last two batters to end the inning.
Reliever Jeff Twitty replaced Eastwick for the fifth inning but was greeted with a Bucky Dent double. Watson singled with two outs for an 11-4 lead. New York added two runs off Twitty in the seventh as Watson doubled and Jackson singled for his fourth hit and fifth RBI of the game. A single and a walk loaded the bases before Cerone’s sacrifice fly capped the Yankee scoring.
As mentioned, the Royals did have a 3-1 lead at one point. Hal McRae singled with one out in the first and scored on George Brett’s double. With two outs, Willie Aikens singled to score Brett. McRae and Brett teamed up for another run in the third as the former tripled and scored on the latter’s single.
But, except for Hurdle’s home run, that was it for Kansas City until the game was out of hand. The Royals did come up with three runs in the eighth, against Yankees reliever Ron Davis. Four straight singles started the inning, by Darrell Porter, Aikens, Rusty Torres, and Hurdle, who drove in two with his hit. With two outs, pinch-hitter Pete LaCock singled for KC’s final run. But the rally was far too little to overcome New York’s big lead.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 54-36. They had a 10.5-game lead in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 2-5 with a run scored and two RBI. Season stats: .377/.443/.651.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA198007190.shtml
1980 news: The heat wave continued as Kansas City temperatures hit the century mark for the 16th straight day, tying the city’s record set in 1936. The death toll from the heat wave climbed over 1,000 combined in 20 states, as the Midwest, South, and Southwest all baked. The National Guard was deployed in Kansas City and St. Louis to help distribute fans and locate at-risk individuals. Mississippi River pilots reported the river was more than 14 feet below normal depth due to the lack of rain, and therefore more hazardous to navigate.
1980 news: Supreme Court justice William J. Brennan overruled a federal three-judge panel in Philadelphia to allow President Carter’s reinstatement of Selective Service registration. Carter’s action came on July 2, as a response to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The order required men born in 1960 to register during the week starting July 21, men born in 1961 to register the following week, and men born in 1962 to start registering in 1981, with any men born after 1962 registering within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The judges in Philadelphia had ruled the order unconstitutional because it excluded women; Brennan’s ruling mentioned the possibility of the full Supreme Court agreeing, but in 1981 the Court would rule that because women were not allowed to serve at the time, the order was in fact allowed.
1980 sports news: Speaking of the Soviet Union, the 1980 Summer Olympics began in Moscow. Of course, they began without the United States and 65 other countries, who were boycotting because of that invasion of Afghanistan. For the first time, the opening ceremonies included artistic performances to reflect the culture of the host country.
1980 sports news: Kansas City golfer Tom Watson took control of the British Open in Muirfield, Scotland, with a dazzling round of 64 (seven under par) in the third round. By the end of the day, Watson held a four-stroke lead over Lee Trevino and Scotland’s Ken Brown.