Steve Busby’s continued comeback attempt had another setback, as the Chicago White Sox scored six runs in the first five innings in a 6-1 win over Kansas City on a Tuesday night at Royals Stadium.
Busby, who underwent rotator cuff surgery in 1976 (and knee surgery in 1977) after winning 56 games over the previous three seasons for the Royals and throwing the first no-hitter in franchise history, was making his first start since August 1979. He had appeared in five games in 1980, all in relief, and entered the game with an ERA of 9.00 in seven innings pitched. But in a stint at Class AAA Omaha, he had a 2.48 ERA in eight starts and had thrown a one-hitter in his last game there.
The game started off in promising fashion for Busby, as he got two groundouts and a strikeout in the first. In the second, he got out of trouble with a double-play grounder. But the White Sox scored in the third. Greg Pryor doubled with one out and scored on a Lamar Johnson single.
Things continued to go downhill for Busby and the Royals in the fourth. Chet Lemon and Thad Bosley started the inning with singles and Kevin Bell walked to load the bases. With one out, Pryor singled for one run. Bob Molinaro grounded out with another run scoring, giving Chicago a 3-1 lead.
And in the fifth, the White Sox chased Busby from the game with three more hits. Wayne Nordhagen singled with one out, and with two outs, Bosley singled. Right fielder Clint Hurdle bobbled the ball, and Chicago had runners at second and third. Bell doubled to drive in both runs, and Ricky Seilheimer greeted reliever Marty Pattin with an RBI single.
All told, Busby allowed nine hits, walked three, and struck out two.
The Royals’ offense might have helped Busby out with some more timely hitting. Kansas City collected 11 hits off Chicago starter Steve Trout and reliever Mike Proly, but went 0-7 with runners in scoring position.
Kansas City’s lone run came in the first as U L Washington led off with a double and scored when Bell committed an error on Hal McRae’s ground ball with two outs. The Royals started the second with two hits, but a double play ended the inning. They had two singles with two outs in the sixth but got nothing, and sandwiched a double play between two singles in the ninth.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 56-37. Meanwhile, Texas won for the ninth time in 12 games, becoming the only other AL West team to be at .500 or better. The Royals held a 9.5-game lead over the Rangers.
George Brett watch: 1-4, giving Brett a five-game hitting streak. Season stats: 377/.442/.641
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198007220.shtml
Today’s birthday: Mike Sweeney (1973)