For the second game in a row, Royals pitchers could not hold on to a lead. The Philadelphia Phillies scored four runs in the eighth inning for a comeback 6-4 win over Kansas City in Game Two of the World Series, on a Wednesday night at Veterans Stadium.
In Game One, the Royals coughed up a 4-0 lead when Philadelphia scored five runs in the third inning. On this night, the Royals held a 4-2 lead going to the bottom of the eighth. Better yet, relief ace Dan Quisenberry was on the mound after pitching a perfect seventh inning. But Quisenberry walked Philly’s number nine hitter, Bob Boone, to start the eighth. Pinch-hitter Del Unser doubled, driving in Boone. After a groundout, Bake McBride singled to tie the game. Mike Schmidt doubled and Keith Moreland singled, and suddenly the Phillies had a 6-4 lead.
Reliever Ron Reed pitched around a one-out single in the ninth, shutting down the Royals to earn the save in place of the Phillies’ normal closer, Tug McGraw, who needed a night off after a heavy workload in the NLCS and pitching the final two innings in Game One.
The Royals, who could not take advantage of facing rookie starter Bob Walk in Game One, made life difficult for future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton in this one. The lefthander, who would win the NL Cy Young Award in 1980, did strike out 10 batters, but he allowed 10 hits and walked six, and by one count, threw 159 pitches. The Royals had at least one runner on in every inning.
But it was the Phillies who scored first. Royals starter Larry Gura started the game with four perfect innings, but Moreland singled with one out in the fifth to become Philadelphia’s first baserunner. Garry Maddox doubled, with Moreland stopping at third. Manny Trillo drove in one run with a sacrifice fly, and Larry Bowa’s single scored a second run.
The Royals finally broke through in the sixth, with an assist from the Phillies’ defense. Amos Otis led off with a single and John Wathan walked. Willie Aikens hit a high chopper to second, but Manny Trillo’s throw to first was wild. Otis scored and the Royals had runners at first and third, but Jose Cardenal struck out and Frank White grounded into a double play, one of four the Royals would hit into on this night.
Carlton lost the strike zone in the seventh, helping the Royals take the lead. Willie Wilson drew a leadoff walk and took second on a bunt. He stole third before Carlton walked Dave Chalk (who stole second) and Hal McRae. Otis doubled to drive in two runs for a 3-2 lead. McRae stopped at third. Wathan hit a sacrifice fly, although Otis was thrown out trying to reach third to end the inning. McRae scored before the last out, and the Royals held a 4-2 advantage.
But just when it looked like the Fall Classic would move to Kansas City in a 1-1 tie, the Phillies rallied to win the game and take control of the Series. The Royals would need to win four of the next five games to win their first title. Even worse for Kansas City, there was a question of whether they would have their best player available. Third baseman George Brett as battling a severe case of hemorrhoids, which had developed between the end of the ALCS and the start of the World Series. Although he played Game One without incident, he almost didn’t start Game Two. And despite having two singles and a walk in this game, the pain became too much and he left the game after the sixth inning.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI198010150.shtml
Bonus YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH_lKYn1gwM. Is the internet great or what?