The Royals hit a pair of solo home runs in the last two innings and held on through a ninth-inning rally to defeat the Tigers, 6-5, on a Monday night at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
Tigers starter Dan Schatzeder pitched a complete game, allowing just eight hits, but three of them were home runs. With Detroit holding a 5-4 lead, George Brett led off the eighth with a home run to tie the score. It was Brett’s 12th home run of the season. Schatzeder retired the next five hitters, but Frank White homered with two outs in the ninth to put Kansas City ahead. That was White’s fifth homer of the season.
Royals closer Dan Quisenberry had worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth to keep the score tied, but things quickly got interesting in the ninth. Richie Hebner led off with a single, and John Wockenfuss drew a walk. Lance Parrish bunted the runners to second and third. The Royals countered with an intentional walk of Al Cowens. With a crowd of just over 37,000 fans going crazy, Quisenberry calmly induced a double play grounder from Tom Brookens, ending the game.
Kansas City did little against Schatzeder outside of the second inning. John Wathan started a three-run rally that inning with a one-out walk. Amos Otis singled, and Darrell Porter walked to load the bases. Willie Aikens singled for two runs to put the Royals on top 2-0. White tried a sacrifice bunt and the Royals caught a break when Schatzeder fumbled the ball. Porter scored on the error. However, the Royals could not add to the lead as Schatzeder got the next two batters out.
Royals starter Steve Busby was solid for the first four innings, working around three walks and two hits. But that turned around quickly in the fifth, as the first four Tigers to the plate reached on singles, with a wild pitch and a Brett throwing error mixed in. Alan Trammell’s single tied the score at 3-3, and Busby was removed from the game. Reliever Jeff Twitty allowed a single, then struck out Hebner. Rawly Eastwick retired the next two hitters to keep the game tied.
Porter untied it with two outs in the sixth, belting his sixth home run of the season. Trammell delivered a two-out double in the bottom of the inning, driving in Lou Whitaker to tie the game.
The score remained 4-4 until Parrish homered off Eastwick with two outs in the seventh. But the Royals overcame it.
The win lifted the Royals to 65-40 on the season. They owned a 12-game lead in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 1-4 with the home run, giving him a 17-game hitting streak. Season stats: .384/.444/.664
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET198008040.shtml
1980 news: Hurricane Allen, which had formed into a tropical depression on August 1, officially reached hurricane status as it neared the Lesser Antilles. An Air Force plane investigating the storm measured sustained winds of 100 mph.
1980 baseball news: The Seattle Mariners fired manager Darrell Johnson, who had been in charge since the team’s first game in 1977. Johnson was replaced by Maury Wills, who became the third African-American manager in major-league history. Johnson was canned with the Mariners on a nine-game losing streak, and a 4-21 mark since the All-Star break. Wills’ debut didn’t go any better, as Seattle lost to California to fall into last place in the AL West, 26 games behind the Royals.