The Royals stayed hot, running their winning streak to five games with a doubleheader sweep of the Blue Jays by scores of 9-0 and 7-4 on a warm Friday night at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto.
In the first game, which was a makeup game from an April rainout, Kansas City collected 15 hits, led by four from Jamie Quirk, who equaled his season total to this point with two home runs. Quirk put the Royals on top when he led off the third inning with a home run against Blue Jays starter Jim Clancy. Frank White followed with a walk, and Rance Mulliniks singled. A groundout moved the runners to second and third, but White was thrown out trying to score on a grounder to second. George Brett singled to drive in Mulliniks for a 2-0 lead.
Kansas City started the fourth inning with three straight singles, and Quirk’s drove in Willie Aikens for a 3-0 lead. Willie Wilson led off the fifth with a walk, and singles by John Wathan and Brett produced another run. Reliever Joey McLaughlin retired the first batter he faced, but Aikens and Amos Otis each collected RBI singles and the Royals held a 6-0 lead.
Wathan picked up an RBI single in the sixth, and Quirk capped the scoring with a two-run home run in the seventh.
Royals starter Rich Gale took advantage of the run support and threw perhaps his best game of the season. He held the Blue Jays to four hits over nine innings. Gale struck out three and walked one, lowering his ERA to 3.70 and earning his 10th win of the season.
In the second game, the Royals used a pair of late-inning home runs to earn a comeback win. Kansas City trailed 4-3 as the seventh inning started, with Toronto starter Jackson Todd still on the mound. Brett walked to lead off the inning, and with two outs and reliever Jerry Garvin in the game, Otis belted his eighth home run of the year to push the Royals in front.
Looking for insurance runs, the Royals added two more in the ninth. Brett led off with a single and scored when Darrell Porter homered, his seventh of the season.
Reliever Marty Pattin picked up the win in the second game. Starter Paul Splittorff struggled, allowing eight hits in 3 ⅔ innings. Renie Martin pitched an inning before Pattin took over and held the Blue Jays hitless for the last 4 ⅓ innings. The only baserunner Pattin allowed was the first man he faced, and that was an intentional walk to load the bases. Pattin then got Bob Bailor on a popup to end the fifth inning with the Royals still down 4-3, giving KC a chance to come back.
With the two wins and second-place Oakland’s loss, the Royals’ lead in the AL West jumped to 13.5 games, their largest of the season to date. Kansas City had a 69-40 record, the best in the major leagues.
George Brett watch: 2-4 with a run and two RBIs in the first game and 2-3 with two walks and a run scored in the second game. Brett now owned a 21-game hitting streak. Season stats: .389/.450/.670
Box score and play-by-play (game one): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR198008081.shtml
Box score and play-by-play (game two): https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR198008082.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Jeremy Hill (1977), Alexis Gomez (1978), Blake Wood (1985)