For the second time in three nights, the Royals enjoyed an offensive explosion in a blowout win over their hated rivals, the New York Yankees. Kansas City took a 14-3 win at Yankee Stadium over the team that had beaten them in three straight American League championship series, winning two of three games in this series by a combined score of 34-17.
The Royals’ 13-1 win in the first game of the series saw Kansas City score 11 runs over the last five innings. In this one, they battered Yankees starter Ron Guidry for seven runs in the first two innings. The visitors scored once in the top of the first, as U L Washington walked with one out and reached third on Hal McRae’s single with two outs. A John Wathan single put KC on top.
Then the Royals erupted for six runs in the second, with Guidry not even making it through the inning. Willie Aikens started the festivities with a walk and stopped at second on Clint Hurdle’s single. Willie Wilson singled with one out to load the bases. Washington singled to drive in two, and a George Brett fly ball produced another run. McRae doubled and Guidry walked Wathan intentionally to load the bases. Frank White hit a fly ball to deep center, where Ruppert Jones fell down while tracking it. The play was ruled a triple and all three runners scored for a 7-0 lead. Reliever Tim Lollar took over and walked two men before getting the final out of the inning.
Royals starter Rich Gale surrendered a home run to Reggie Jackson to start the bottom half of the second, but kept the Yankees from further scoring until the fourth. Bobby Murcer led off that inning with a home run, and New York added one more as Graig Nettles doubled, took third on a fly ball, and scored on an Oscar Gamble groundout.
Gale left after the fifth with shoulder soreness, having allowed just the three hits. He walked two and only struck out one but still evened his record at 7-7. Dan Quisenberry took over and pitched the last four innings, allowing four hits but no runs to earn his 19th save.
The Royals’ bats made Quisenberry’s job easy, as they added single runs in the sixth and seventh before another big inning in the ninth. First, Washington started the sixth with a single. Brett walked, but McRae grounded into a double play. Wathan kept the inning going with a walk, and Washington scored on a wild pitch before Lollar struck out White. In the seventh, Aikens led off with a single. Pinch-runner Pete LaCock took second on a bunt and scored when Wilson singled with two outs.
Kansas City added an exclamation mark to the series with five runs in the ninth, all against Ed Figueroa. White singled to start the rally. Hurdle singled with one out. Rusty Torres delivered an RBI single. Wilson singled to load the bases, and Washington walked to force in a run. Brett doubled to drive in two runs, and McRae hit a sacrifice fly for the final run.
With the win, the Royals improved to 55-36 and finished their nine-game road trip with a 6-3 mark. They maintained a 10.5-game lead in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 1-4 with a walk and three runs driven in. Season stats: .375/.440/.648
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA198007200.shtml
1980 news: The Census Bureau released preliminary counts from the 1980 census. Kansas City officials were disappointed that the city’s population had dropped 15% from 1970, going from 507,330 to 429,177. Mayor Richard Berkley vowed the city would carefully review the data. Ultimately, Kansas City was credited with 448,159 residents, still a drop of 12%. However, the metropolitan area grew from 1.274 million to 1.327 million.
1980 sports news: Kansas City’s Tom Watson captured his first major title in three years, winning the British Open at Muirfield, Scotland. Watson shot a 69 in the final round to beat Lee Trevino by four strokes. Watson had not won a major since the 1977 British Open. With his 1975 title, this made three Open wins for Watson.
Today’s birthday: Mark Lee (1964)