This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: July 29

The Royals overcame a 6-1 deficit to get a 9-8 walkoff win over the Boston Red Sox on a Tuesday night at Royals Stadium.

Boston enjoyed three two-run innings in the first four frames, chasing Kansas City starter Paul Splittorff from the game four batters into the third inning. Jim Rice drove in two runs in the third with a bases-loaded double, bringing reliever Renie Martin into the game. Martin got out of that jam, thanks to a great defensive play by right fielder Clint Hurdle, who made a running shoestring catch on Gary Allenson’s line drive and threw home to nail Tony Perez trying to score from third. However, Martin allowed two more runs in the fourth, with Rice drawing a bases-loaded walk for the second one. At that point, Boston held a 6-1 lead.

The Royals’ first run came in the first inning, as George Brett doubled with two outs and Hal McRae singled. But Boston starter Bob Ojeda had allowed just one hit since then as the game entered the bottom of the fourth, and that runner had promptly been erased on a double play. The Royals began to turn it around in the fourth as Brett and McRae started the inning with singles. But Ojeda retired the next two batters. Darrell Porter kept the inning going with a walk, and Clint Hurdle cleared the bases with a double. Boston turned to reliever Dick Drago, but Dave Chalk singled to score Hurdle and pull Kansas City within a run. Willie Wilson singled, advancing Chalk to third. Then Wilson stole second, with catcher Gary Allenson’s throw sailing into center field. That allowed Chalk to score the tying run.

The teams traded runs in the seventh. Boston scored with two outs as Allenson drove in Dwight Evans. Allenson took second on the throw home, and Royals relief ace Dan Quisenberry took over for Martin. The first batter he faced, Glenn Hoffman, reached on Brett’s error, but Quisenberry induced a grounder to end the inning.

The Royals tied it back up as Brett hit his 11th home run of the year in the bottom of the inning. Another former Royal, Tom Burgmeier, took over for Drago for the bottom of the eighth and got two outs before Chalk hit his first home run of the year, putting Kansas City in front 8-7.

But this wild game wasn’t done yet. In the top of the ninth, Boston got a one-out double Evans. Allenson hit a fly ball to left, which was dropped by Wilson, although Evans had to hold at second. Pinch-hitter Jim Dwyer singled, scoring Evans and tying the game. With Allenson at third, Rick Burleson hit a one-hop grounder seemingly headed for the left-field corner. But Brett snared it, turned and made an on-target off-balance throw to home to cut down Allenson. After a popup, the Royals headed to the bottom of the ninth with the game still tied.

Of course, Brett led off the ninth with a double. Reliever Bob Stanley entered the game, and after an intentional walk to McRae, John Wathan grounded into a double play. Amos Otis hit a grounder towards left field. Burleson got to it but couldn’t make a play, although for some reason the play was scored as an error and not a hit. Regardless, Brett scored and the Royals had a win.

That victory gave the Royals a 61-38 mark on the season. They held a 12.5-game lead in the AL West. At the time, it was the largest division lead the franchise had ever enjoyed.

George Brett watch: 4-5 with the home run, two doubles, four runs scored, and one RBI. And the great play in the ninth to keep the game tied. That’s a decent day at the office. Season stats: .382/.442/.675.

Box score and play-by-play:

Today’s birthdays: Cedric Tallis (1914), Dar Smith (1960), Luis Alicea (1965), Mike Williams (1968), Ryan Braun (1980)

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