Cleveland rocked Royals pitching for three home runs in an 8-3 victory on a Saturday night at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland.
Kansas City starter Renie Martin retired the first two batters he faced, but Mike Hargrove singled and Joe Charboneau followed with a home run, giving the Indians a quick 2-0 lead.
The Royals came back to score one run in the top of the second. Facing Cleveland starter Len Barker, Amos Otis led off with a single and stole second. He reached third on a grounder and scored on Darrell Porter’s sacrifice fly.
But Cleveland responded with runs in each of the next four innings. In the second, Alan Bannister doubled and scored on a Rick Manning single. Jorge Orta led off the third with a home run; Hargrove followed with a walk but Charboneau grounded into a double play. Toby Harrah’s double ended Martin’s outing.
Reliever Marty Pattin escaped that jam, but surrendered two more runs in the fourth, as Hargrove doubled with two men on. Harrah added a leadoff home run in the fifth as Cleveland put the game out of reach.
The Royals were already down 6-1 when they came up with their second run, in the fifth inning. U L Washington led off with a triple and scored on a wild pitch. But Kansas City would not score again until the ninth. Darrell Porter started that inning with a walk and took second on a wild pitch. With one out, Pete LaCock singled, with Porter stopping at third. Wilson grounded out, with Porter scoring, but it was not nearly enough.
Kansas City’s best pitching on the night came from reliever Mike Jones, recently added to the expanded roster. In his major league debut, Jones allowed one unearned run in three innings.
With the loss, the Royals fell to 86-50. They maintained their 18.5-game lead in the AL West, with Texas losing. That dropped Kansas City’s magic number to clinch the division to nine.
George Brett watch: 0-3 with a walk. Even worse, Brett slightly injured his right hand swinging at an outside pitch, although he finished the game. Season stats: .396/.463/.668
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE198009060.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Fran Healy (1946), Mark Teahen (1981)