This Date In Royals History–1980 Edition: August 26

The Royals built a 7-0 lead and then watched it nearly slip away, barely escaping with a 7-6 win over the Brewers on a Tuesday night at County Stadium in Milwaukee.

Kansas City scored all seven runs off Brewers starter Mike Caldwell. Willie Wilson led off the first with a single and took second on a wild pitch. He scored when U L Washington singled. George Brett followed with a single, and Hal McRae drove in both runners with a triple. Amos Otis hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead before Caldwell retired the next two hitters.

After an uneventful second inning, Caldwell got a double play from Willie Aikens to end the third inning with the bases loaded. But in the fourth, he could not get the final out. Jose Cardenal led off with a single, and Wilson singled with one out. Brett came through with a two-out RBI single, and reliever Bill Castro took over for Caldwell. Castro uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Brett to take second while Wilson held at third. McRae singled to score both runners, giving the Royals that 7-0 lead.

Royals starter Steve Busby pitched well for the first three innings, although Milwaukee gathered three hits in the second. They didn’t score because Busby picked off Ben Oglivie at third base for the second out. The Brewers finally got on the board in the fourth. Cecil Cooper started the inning with a single and scored as Oglivie atoned for his baserunning mistake with a one-out RBI double. Sixto Lezcano reached second when his fly ball bounced off Wilson’s glove, and Don Money walked to load the bases. Busby did a good job avoiding a big inning, getting two fly balls (with Oglivie scoring on Charlie Moore’s) to end the inning with the Royals still in front, 7-2.

Busby got through the fifth with no problem and was nearly out of the sixth when trouble struck. Oglivie doubled with one out. With two outs, Busby hit Money with a pitch and Moore hit a three-run home run. Suddenly, the Royals’ lead was down to 7-5, although Busby was able to finish the inning with no further damage.

Reliever Marty Pattin took over for Busby to begin the seventh and pitched two scoreless innings. He began the ninth by retiring Moore on a popup, but Jim Gantner and Paul Molitor followed with singles. Royals closer Dan Quisenberry took over, but Robin Yount greeted him with a single to load the bases. Quisenberry got Cooper to ground out to first, with a run scoring to cut the Royals’ lead to 7-6, but with the winning runs in scoring position. Quisenberry got slugger Gorman Thomas to hit a fly ball to center, ending the game. That gave the relief ace his 31st save of the year. It also gave Busby his first win of the season.

The win lifted the Royals to 82-44. They kept their 17.5-game lead in the AL West.

George Brett watch: 5-5 with a double, two runs scored, and one RBI. Rather amazingly, this was Brett’s first five-hit game of the season. Season stats: .407/.468/.675

Box score and play-by-play:

1980 news: It was like something out of a movie, as the cliche goes. In Stateline, Nevada, which is on the shore of Lake Tahoe (and, as the name implies, on the California-Nevada border), a man who had lost $750,000 gambling at the Harvey’s Resort Hotel smuggled a large bomb, disguised as a copier, into the casino office. The man, later found to be John Birges, Sr., was attempting to extort $3 million from the casino in exchange for instructions on disarming the device, which contained 1,000 pounds of TNT Birges had stolen from a construction site. A typewritten letter left with the bomb alerted casino management to its presence, so all guests were evacuated, along with guests and gamblers at two nearby casinos. After studying the device for more than a day, the FBI decided to try to remotely destroy the upper part of the bomb, which contained firing mechanisms. However, that part also had undetected explosives, which set off the whole thing. No one was killed or injured, but every window in the 250-room casino was destroyed or damaged, and the blast created a crater 50 feet by 30 feet in the building. The casino would not reopen for more than a year.

Today’s birthdays: Chad Kreuter (1964), Ricky Bottalico (1969), Jayson Nix (1982), Maikel Franco (1992)

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