A rough start and a ninth-inning rally that fell just short combined to end the Royals’ eight-game winning streak, as Kansas City lost a close one to Cleveland, 4-3, on a Thursday night at Royals Stadium.
Royals starter Steve Busby surrendered three runs in the first inning. Miguel Dilone started the game with a double and took third on a passed ball. With one out, Busby walked Mike Hargrove. Ron Hassey followed that with a three-run home run.
Busby did settle in and pitched six innings, allowing seven hits and two walks overall, although he only recorded one strikeout. Cleveland added an additional run in the sixth, as Alan Bannister tripled with two outs and scored on Rick Manning’s double.
However, the Royals’ offense was having its own problems with Indians starter Rick Waits. Kansas City managed just three hits and no walks in the first five five innings. One of those was George Brett’s 16th home run of the season, a solo shot with one out in the fourth that cut the Cleveland lead to 3-1 at the time.
That changed in the bottom of the sixth. Frank White led off with a walk, and U L Washington homered, his sixth of the year. Suddenly Kansas City trailed just 4-3 and Waits was pulled from the game in favor of Sid Monge.
But the Royals could do little against Monge, wasting two walks and a single over the next three innings. With one last chance to tie the game, the Royals stirred to life in the ninth. Amos Otis led off with a single and Darrell Porter walked. Willie Aikens, despite entering the game with 14 home runs, attempted a sacrifice bunt. But Monge pounced on the ball quickly and fired to third for a forceout. Pinch-hitter Willie Wilson, who had been given the night off due to a 2-19 slump, struck out on three pitches. And after the Indians replaced the left-handed Monge with right-hander Victor Cruz, the Royals sent Jamie Quirk to the plate as the pinch-hitter for Frank White, but Cruz struck him out to end the game.
That also ended the Royals’ eight-game winning streak, but Kansas City still had a sterling 78-43 record. They were also still 15.5 games ahead of second-place Oakland in the AL West.
Off the field, the Royals looked to bolster their bench by adding outfielder Jose Cardenal. The 36-year-old had been released by the New York Mets on August 13 after hitting just .167/.265/.190 in 49 plate appearances. To make room on the roster, the Royals released relief pitcher Rawly Eastwick, who had posted a 5.32 ERA in 22 innings.
George Brett watch: 1-4 with the solo home run. Season stats: .404/.464/.686
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198008210.shtml
1980 news: The economy got some rare good news, as for the first time in 13 years, overall consumer prices did not rise at all in July. However, much of the stability was a result of a sharp decline in home financing costs. The price of food and beverages jumped 0.9% in July following a combined 0.8% jump in May and June, so there were still concerns about the health of the economy going forward.