After a summer of heat and drought, a rainy Friday night in Kansas City helped make the Royals’ 4-3 win over Toronto interesting.
Although it rained before the game, the contest started on time with Royals starter Dennis Leonard working a scoreless first inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Blue Jays starter Jesse Jefferson immediately ran into trouble as Willie Wilson led off with a single and John Wathan walked. George Brett hit a soft line drive to left that skipped past Bob Bailor on the wet turf. Brett was able to circle the bases for a three-run inside-the-park home run.
Leonard dominated the Blue Jays, holding them to six hits and a walk over eight innings. He picked up seven strikeouts as he earned his 14th win of the year. Toronto’s lone run came in the fourth, as Roy Howell doubled with one out. John Mayberry singled to cut the Royals’ lead to 3-1.
From there, Leonard and Jefferson pitched scoreless baseball until the bottom of the eighth. U L Washington started the inning with a single. Wilson bunted him to second, and Jefferson hit Wathan with a pitch. At that point, the rain became too much and the umpires halted the game. One hour and 12 minutes later, the game resumed without the grounds crew finishing the process of sponging off the artificial turf. Reliever Jerry Garvin got Brett to bounce into a force out at second, but Darrell Porter singled for an insurance run.
That run became the difference as Toronto rallied in the ninth. Leonard gave way to closer Dan Quisenberry, who surrendered a leadoff double to Mayberry on a ball that landed in the outfield and more or less died in a large puddle. Damaso Garcia singled, and Steve Braun delivered an RBI single. With one out, pinch-hitter Otto Velez singled to make the score 4-3. With the tying run at third, Quisenberry finally got the grounder he was looking for, as Ernie Whitt bounced into a game-ending double play.
After the game, Royals manager Jim Frey said the umpires didn’t let the grounds crew finish getting water off the field because more rain was on the way and they wanted to get the rest of the game played. Happily, no one was injured due to the standing water.
Quisenberry’s league-leading 24th save also gave him the single season record for the Royals’ franchise. It helped the Royals improve to 73-42 on the season and maintain their 13-game lead in the AL West race.
George Brett watch: 1-4 with his 14th home run of the year. That moved his hitting streak to 27 games. Season stats: .389/.449/.666
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198008150.shtml
Today’s birthday: Jarrod Dyson (1984)