The Royals scored early and often, smacking the Blue Jays, 11-5, before a near-capacity crowd on a warm and windy Saturday night at Royals Stadium.
For the 11th straight home game, Kansas City drew more than 30,000 fans, with a crowd of 39,631 enjoying this one. The crowd had barely settled in when the Royals took the lead in the bottom of the first. Willie Wilson led off with a single and stole second base. He took third on a groundout and scored on George Brett’s sacrifice fly.
Then Kansas City added four runs in the second inning. Hal McRae led off with a single and motored to third when center fielder Danny Ainge misplayed the ball. Clint Hurdle drove in McRae with a single. With one out, U L Washington singled, and with two outs, John Wathan tagged Toronto starter Jack Kucek for a three-run home run.
Reliever Jerry Garvin took over and prevented further damage, and also held the Royals scoreless in the third, but couldn’t get out of the fourth inning. Wilson led off with a double and took third on a groundout. Brett singled for a 6-0 lead. After Darrell Porter walked, reliever Joey McLaughlin took over, but McRae doubled with two outs to score both runners.
Royals starter Larry Gura held the Jays to three hits in the first five innings, but Toronto got back in the game with three runs in the sixth. Alfredo Griffin and Bob Bailor singled to start the inning, and both scored on John Mayberry’s double. Gura retired the next two hitters, but Roy Howell singled to drive in Mayberry and cut the Royals’ lead to 8-3.
But the Royals came back with one run in the bottom of the sixth, as Brett, Porter, and Willie Aikens all singled with one out. Waving the white flag, the Blue Jays moved Bailor from right field to the pitcher’s mound to start the seventh, with predictable results: Hurdle and Rance Mulliniks started the inning with doubles before Washington drew a walk. An actual pitcher, reliever Mike Barlow, took over, although Mulliniks would come around to score on two groundouts.
Toronto scored three runs in the top of the ninth off reliever Marty Pattin, but it was not nearly enough to keep the Royals from their fourth straight win. The victory gave the Royals a 74-42 mark as they kept their 13-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 3-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Brett now owned a 28-game hitting streak. Season stats: .394/.451/.667
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198008160.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Rick Reed (1964), Terry Shumpert (1966), Damian Jackson (1973), Martin Maldonado (1986), Justin Grimm (1988)