The Royals only got six hits, but they made them count in a 6-3 win over Detroit at Tiger Stadium, in a game marred by a benches-clearing brawl.
The fight happened in the sixth inning, as Tigers starter Milt Wilcox threw two inside pitches to George Brett. The Royals’ third baseman, who had homered earlier in the game, hit the dirt on both pitches. Brett flied out to center, but as he crossed first base, he pointed at Wilcox and yelled, then charged him. The benches emptied, although no punches were thrown. Brett got the worst of it, as he suffered a scratch under his right eye and also was ejected from the game, while Wilcox got to keep pitching.
Brett’s home run in the fourth put the Royals on top. Wilcox had pitched three perfect innings to start the game, but started the fourth by walking Willie Wilson. After Hal McRae singled, Brett hit his 13th home run of the season for a 3-0 lead.
Wilcox recovered to retire 13 of the next 14 hitters. Frank White snapped that string with a one-out single in the eighth. Wilson followed with an RBI triple. McRae doubled to score Wilson, and Brett’s replacement, Dave Chalk, added another double to score McRae and give KC a 6-0 lead. Reliever Pat Underwood finished out the inning, meaning Chalk was the only Royal to get a hit but not score a run.
Royals starter Dennis Leonard held Detroit to six hits in the first seven innings. The Tigers didn’t score until the eighth, when Steve Kemp singled with one out and scored when Champ Summers homered with two outs.
Leonard returned to the mound for the ninth, but after a pair of singles started the inning, Dan Quisenberry was summoned from the bullpen. He recorded his 22nd save with three straight outs, although the first one was a sacrifice fly. Leonard picked up his 12th win of the year.
The victory gave the Royals a 66-40 record. They kept their 12-game lead in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 1-3 with the home run. Brett now had an 18-game hitting streak. Season stats: .383/.443/.672
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET198008050.shtml
1980 news: Less than a week before the Democratic National Convention was set to start in New York City, aides to President Jimmy Carter and Senator Edward Kennedy agreed that debates on convention rules and the party platform would take place during the evening sessions, which meant they would be seen on TV during primetime. Although Carter had secured enough delegates in the primaries to clinch the nomination, Kennedy and his supporters were pushing for a rule to allow delegates to vote for whichever candidate they preferred, not the one they were bound to support by primary results. The two candidates also differed on economic issues, setting up a disagreement on the platform.
1980 news: In the Caribbean, Hurricane Allen reached Category 5 status, making it the earliest Atlantic hurricane on record to reach that level. That record would stay intact until 2005. Allen also registered the lowest pressure on record in the eastern Caribbean; that record would remain until 2017. The eye of the storm was located south of Puerto Rico as Allen continued moving eastward.
Today’s birthday: Nelson Briles (1943)