The Royals scored one run in the eighth and four more in the ninth to salt away a 9-3 victory over the Brewers on a Monday night at County Stadium in Milwaukee.
Kansas City never trailed, as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead. In the second inning, Amos Otis drew a one-out walk from Brewers starter Moose Haas. With two outs, Otis stole second before Clint Hurdle homered off the right-field foul pole. Hurdle’s ninth home run of the year staked the Royals to a 2-0 lead.
They doubled their advantage in the third. With one out, Willie Wilson singled and stole second. He scored easily on Hal McRae’s double. After a George Brett fly ball advanced McRae to third, Willie Aikens singled to put KC ahead, 4-0.
Royals starter Larry Gura continued his impressive 1980 campaign by scattering eight hits over seven innings. Three of those hits came in his worst inning, as Milwaukee climbed back into the game with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Buck Martinez led off with a home run. Paul Molitor followed with a double. Gura retired the next two hitters but couldn’t get around Gorman Thomas, who smacked his 30th homer of the year to make the score 4-3.
But Gura retired 10 of the next 11 hitters, then worked around two singles in the seventh. When Cecil Cooper singled to start the eighth, Gura turned the game and his quest for his 18th win over to Dan Quisenberry with a 5-3 lead after Kansas City scored in the top of the inning. The Royals’ closer made things a little interesting. Thomas singled to put the tying runs on base. Ben Oglivie lined out to right, with Cooper moving up to third. Then Quisenberry got the grounder he needed, as Dick Davis hit a chopper to Brett at third base. Brett threw home to get Cooper for the second out, and Sal Bando grounded into a forceout to end the threat.
After Frank White followed singles by Otis and Hurdle with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, the Royals put the game out of reach in the ninth. Wilson started things with a double, finally finishing Haas for the game. Reliever Bill Castro entered the game, only to hit McRae with a pitch and be replaced by Jerry Augustine. Brett greeted him with an RBI single. Aikens grounded into a forceout at second, with McRae taking third. Darrell Porter walked to load the bases. A wild pitch brought in one run before Otis doubled to drive in two more. Augustine finally got the last two outs, and Quisenberry got three grounders in the bottom of the ninth to earn his 30th save.
With the win, the Royals improved to 81-44. They maintained their 17.5-game lead in the AL West.
George Brett watch: 2-4 with a walk and an RBI. Season stats: .398/.461/.668
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIL/MIL198008250.shtml
1980 news: Illinois congressman John B. Anderson, a Republican, announced his vice-presidential choice in his independent campaign for president. Anderson selected Democrat Patrick Lucey, former governor of Wisconsin and most recently a campaign leader in Senator Ted Kennedy’s attempt to win the Democratic Party’s nomination. Anderson was polling just under the 15% threshold needed to qualify for any debates between Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan, but hoped his choice would give him the needed boost. The Carter and Reagan campaigns had not yet agreed on any debates.
1980 baseball news: In Toronto, Texas Rangers pitcher Fergie Jenkins was arrested before the Rangers-Blue Jays game. When Jenkins’ luggage arrived in Canada on Sunday night, authorities found four grams of cocaine, two ounces of marijuana, and two grams of hashish. Jenkins, a native Canadian, was scheduled to appear in court in Ontario on Wednesday as he was charged with three counts of possession. Jenkins had been the scheduled starter for Tuesday’s game, but it was unclear if he would be allowed to pitch.
1980 baseball news: In Philadelphia, a close game between two teams fighting for division titles turned into a real fight. With the Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers tied at 4-4 in the ninth, LA’s Dusty Baker singled to drive in a run. Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw tried to intentionally walk Joe Ferguson and load the bases for a double play, but Ferguson reached out and slapped one of the pitches into right field for two runs. McGraw then threw three pitches very far inside on Dodgers shortstop Bill Russell before hitting him on his fourth pitch. That led to a benches-clearing brawl. Somehow McGraw was not ejected from the game, although Russell and Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda got tossed. The Dodgers won, 8-4, to move within two games of Houston in the NL West, while the Phillies remained 3.5 games behind Pittsburgh in the East.
1980 sports news: Back in Kansas City, the Chiefs announced that they intended to trade or waive veteran placekicker Jan Stenerud, ending his 13-year career with the team. The emergence of rookie kicker Nick Lowery made Stenerud expendable, according to head coach Marv Levy. Stenerud would spend the next four seasons kicking for Green Bay, then two more with Minnesota. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
Today’s birthday: Neal Musser (1980)