The Royals had a travel day as they headed from Seattle to Minnesota for their last three road games of the regular season.
With little over a week left in the regular season, Kansas City was the only team in baseball that had punched a ticket for the postseason. In the AL East, the New York Yankees were closing in on a playoff spot as well. Like the Royals, the Yankees were seeking their fourth division title in five seasons. At one point in late August, the Baltimore Orioles had pulled to within a half-game of New York, but now the Yankees had opened up a 4.5-game lead. New York’s magic number to clinch the division remained at six after they lost to Cleveland; the Orioles were idle.
The intrigue was greater in the National League. In the NL East, Philadelphia took over first place with a 2-1 win over New York. The Phillies now led Montreal by a half-game after Expos lost in Chicago. Meanwhile, defending World Series champ Pittsburgh was pasted at home, 10-2, by St. Louis and fell to 4.5 games out of first. Philadelphia had a magic number of six to eliminate their cross-state rivals. The Phillies and Expos were set to face off six times in the last 10 days of the season, so the division was very much up for grabs.
The NL West featured an even tighter three-team dogfight. The Houston Astros won in Atlanta, while the Los Angeles Dodgers lost at home to San Francisco. That gave Houston a one-game lead in the division. The Cincinnati Reds, 1979’s division winner, stood at 2.5 games back after winning in San Diego. The Reds and Astros were set for a three-game series in Houston over the coming weekend, and the Astros would end the season with three games in Los Angeles. So this division was also far from settled.
Today’s birthday: Ray Holbert (1970)