This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: July 24

For the third time in a week, the Royals cracked double digits on the scoreboard, pounding the White Sox 12-4 on a Thursday night at Royals Stadium.

Kansas City had scored 34 runs the previous weekend in a three-game series in New York, and Chicago impressively held the Royals to three total runs in the first two games of this series. But the home team followed up a 9-2 win Wednesday night with this blowout, keyed by an eight-run third inning.

The Royals actually trailed 1-0 as they came to the plate in that third inning, as Ron Pruitt homered off Kansas City starter Paul Splittorff in the second. But the Royals teed off against White Sox starter Rich Wortham, who had been helped by two double plays in the first two innings. Clint Hurdle and Frank White began the inning with singles. Willie Wilson doubled to score both runners. After a U L Washington walk, George Brett singled to drive in Wilson with Washington reaching third. Brett stole second, and Hal McRae walked to load the bases again. John Wathan singled to drive in two runs. Darrell Porter walked and the bases were loaded again. At this point, Mike Proly relieved Wortham, who had faced eight batters in the inning and not recorded an out. Willie Aikens completed KC’s perfect trip through the order with another two-RBI single. Proly finally ended Chicago’s nightmare inning by coaxing a double play ball from Hurdle, although Porter scored on the play, and a groundout from White to end the inning.

Kansas City added another run in the fourth as Wilson reached on an error by third baseman Kevin Bell. Wilson took second on the play, moved to third on a grounder, and scored on Brett’s single.

Proly was still in the game in the sixth, when the Royals collected four straight hits with two outs. Singles by McRae and Wathan set the stage for Porter’s RBI single and Aikens’ two-RBI single, pushing the Royals’ lead to 12-1.

Splittorff retired 11 straight at one point and had allowed just five hits through the first seven innings. But the White Sox picked up three hits in the eighth, with Lamar Johnson’s single driving in two runs. Chicago picked up another run in the ninth against reliever Rawly Eastwick.

With the win, the Royals improved to 58-37 and won three of the four games in the series. They increased their AL West lead to 11 games over Texas.

George Brett watch: 2-4 with a run scored and two RBI. Season stats: .379/.442/.651

Box score and play-by-play:

1980 baseball news: Reports began surfacing that Brett had signed a five-year contract worth $900,000 a year. With deferred payments also expected, the contract was said to be worth $1 million per year, while also adding $250,000 to his salary each of the next two seasons. However, both the Royals and Brett refused to confirm the deal. Perhaps they were concerned about the reaction from other Royals, as several players had publicly complained about their salaries in the offseason and spring training.

1980 news: Actor Peter Sellers, star of The Pink Panther movies and Dr. Strangelove, died in London following a heart attack. As a member of The Goon Show cast, which aired on BBC Radio in the early 1950s, Sellers helped inspire both the Beatles and Monty Python, among many others. Sellers was only 54.

Today’s birthday: Jason Smith (1977)

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