The Royals gave further evidence they had returned to form, scoring four runs in the third inning on their way to a 6-2 win over Seattle on a Thursday night at Royals Stadium.
The win was the third straight for Kansas City following an eight-game losing streak. The Royals jumped on top after two perfect innings from Seattle starter Floyd Bannister. Amos Otis started the third with a double and Dave Chalk drew a walk. Onix Concepcion grounded into a forceout at third, but Willie Wilson drew a walk to load the bases. Jose Cardenal drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. George Brett drew a walk before Hal McRae delivered the game’s key hit, a bases-clearing double.
Kansas City added a run in the fifth. Singles by Wilson and Cardenal and a wild pitch set up a scoring opportunity. Brett drove in Wilson with a sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.
Royals starter Renie Martin ended his regular season with a strong outing as he made his case for a spot in the postseason rotation. Martin pitched 6 ⅔ innings and was one play away from seven shutout innings. After allowing five hits and two walks in the first six innings, Martin walked Dave Edler to start the seventh. Edler was forced out at second on a Larry Cox grounder. Martin walked Kim Allen but got Joe Simpson to ground into another force play at second. Simpson stole second, and when shortstop Concepcion failed to come up with a Leon Roberts grounder, both runners scored. Ken Brett took over for Martin and finished the inning, then worked a scoreless eighth before turning the game over to Dan Quisenberry for a perfect ninth inning.
The Royals added an insurance run in the seventh off Mariners reliever Dave Heaverlo. Clint Hurdle led off with a single and took third when John Wathan singled with two outs. Willie Aikens hit a grounder that third baseman Edler booted, allowing Hurdle to score.
The win gave the Royals a sweep of the three-game series. Kansas City ended the season series with a slim 7-6 advantage over the Mariners, who lost their 100th game with the defeat. The Royals improved to 95-64 and increased their AL West lead to 13.5 games.
George Brett watch: 0-2 with a walk, a run scored, and a sacrifice fly and RBI. Season stats: .389/.455/.667
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA198010020.shtml
1980 news: With just a month to go before the presidential election, the country got some good economic news. The unemployment rate dropped for the second straight month, from 7.6 percent to 7.5. Wholesale prices also dropped slightly, by 0.2 percent, after a startling 1.5 percent jump in August.
1980 baseball news: The New York Yankees clinched a tie for the AL East title with a 3-2 win over Detroit. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated Chicago to move into a first-place tie with Montreal in the NL East. The Phillies and Expos were set to conclude the regular season with a three-game series in Philadelphia. In the NL West, Houston won and Los Angeles lost, giving the Astros a three-game lead in the division with three games left. Coincidentally, those three games would be against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
1980 sports news: In Las Vegas, Larry Holmes dominated from start to finish as he defended his WBC heavyweight title against the legendary Muhammad Ali. Holmes battered the three-time champ badly enough that Ali’s corner stopped the fight after the 10th round. It was the penultimate bout of Ali’s career, but he would not fight again until December 1981.
Today’s birthday: Greg Pryor (1949)