The Boston Red Sox scored six runs in the ninth inning to turn a tie game into a 7-1 rout of Kansas City on a broiling Wednesday night at Royals Stadium.
The gametime temperature of 106° didn’t seem to bother either starting pitcher. Boston’s Steve Renko, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, held the Royals to five hits in six innings, although he did issue five walks. Royals starter Steve Busby limited the Red Sox to eight hits through eight innings before weakening in the ninth. Busby struck out four and walked just one.
The Royals had two innings end with runners caught stealing and hit into two double plays in the first five innings. But in the sixth, Willie Wilson and U L Washington each singled with one out. George Brett hit a sacrifice fly to bring Wilson home and tie the score.
Kansas City had an excellent chance to take the lead in the seventh. Darrell Porter led off with a walk and Willie Aikens singled. That finished Renko’s evening. Reliever Bob Stanley got a grounder that moved the runners to second and third, then walked Clint Hurdle intentionally and got pinch-hitter Jamie Quirk to ground into a double play.
Busby retired the first batter he faced in the ninth, but singles by Dwight Evans and Doug Rader followed. Reliever Dan Quisenberry entered the game and had his worst appearance of the season. He faced four batters and all four delivered RBI singles. Jim Rice put a capper on the Red Sox’ big inning with a two-run triple off reliever Rawly Eastwick.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 61-39. Meanwhile, Oakland took over second place in the AL West, although the Royals still held a comfortable 11.5-game lead.
George Brett watch: 2-2 with a walk and an RBI. Brett now had a 12-game hitting streak. Season stats: .386/.447/.677.
1980 baseball news: Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richard, who had been one of the most dominating pitchers in the National League in the last half of the 1970s, suffered a stroke while playing catch on the field at the Astrodome. Richard was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery to clear a massive blockage in his right carotid artery. The stroke was the culmination of several weeks of health problems that had landed Richard on the disabled list. He had complained of “deadness” in his throwing arm and numbness in his fingers. Exams after the surgery determined that Richard had been suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome and had actually suffered three different strokes due to blockages in his arteries. Although Richard would undergo rehabilitation and attempt a comeback, he never pitched in another major league game.