The first World Series game in Royals history started off so well, with the team taking a 4-0 lead after three trips to the plate. But the Phillies exploded for five runs in the bottom of the third and went on to a 7-6 victory on a Tuesday night at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second against Phillies starter Bob Walk, a rookie who had been forced into action after Philadelphia used three starting pitchers in the deciding NLCS Game Five two days earlier. Darrell Porter led off with a walk and Amos Otis homered to left.
Another home run in the third doubled Kansas City’s lead. With one out, Hal McRae singled and Willie Aikens, celebrating his birthday, homered to right-center. The Royals could have had more though; Porter drew another walk and Otis singled, with Porter stopping at second. Clint Hurdle singled to left; Porter tried to score but Lonnie Smith’s throw home was in time to catch Porter and end the inning.
Royals starter Dennis Leonard had been perfect through the first two innings, but his luck turned in the third. With one out, Larry Bowa singled and stole second. Bob Boone doubled down the left-field line for the Phillies’ first run. Smith singled to left field. Boone stopped at third, but as Smith got caught in a rundown between first and second, Boone bolted for home when third baseman George Brett turned his back to the runner. The Royals were able to tag out Smith, but the lead was cut to 4-2. Leonard lost his control, hitting Pete Rose with a pitch (Rose later admitted he did not try to avoid the pitch) and walking Mike Schmidt. Bake McBride, batting cleanup despite hitting just nine home runs during the regular season, delivered the big blow, homering to right to give the Phillies a 5-4 lead.
Boone doubled to drive in Manny Trillo in the fourth. That increased the Philadelphia lead to 6-4 and finished Leonard’s outing. Reliever Renie Martin allowed a single run in the fifth but did keep the Royals in the game by working four innings and allowing just the one run.
Walk retired 12 of the next 13 hitters after Porter was thrown out at home in the third. But the Royals mounted a comeback in the eighth. George Brett led off with a double and took third on a wild pitch. Aikens blasted his second home run of the game to right field, pulling the Royals to within 7-6. But Phillies closer Tug McGraw took over, working around a one-out single and then retiring the Royals in order in the ninth to end the game.
With the win, the Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the Series. It was Philadephia’s first victory in a World Series game since 1915.
Box score and play-by-play:
Bonus YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYChvCXbggg. In this era of baseball, ABC and NBC alternated broadcasting the playoffs and World Series; 1980 was NBC’s turn.