Macho Row Phlashback is a series that takes a look back at some of the great moments in Philadelphia Phillies history. This particular series looks back at the 1980 World Series between the Phillies and Kansas City Royals.
How They Got Here
To this day the 1980 National League Championship Series is regarded as one of the best, if not the best, playoff series in baseball history. The Phillies and Houston Astros colliding in a series filled with future Hall of Fame players with all but one game being decided in the winning team's final at-bat. Philadelphia advanced to their first World Series since 1950 after edging the Astros in five games.
The Kansas City Royals made history by becoming the first American League expansion team to reach the World Series. They did so by sweeping one of the most historic franchises in baseball history, the New York Yankees, in three games in the American League Championship Series. The Yankees had defeated the Royals in the ALCS in 1976, 1977 and 1978, so getting past them in 1980 was a tough mountain to climb against the Bronx Bombers.
Previous Game: Phillies 7, Royals 6 (Phillies lead 1-0)
After coming back to win game one the day before, the Phillies had every reason to expect a win in game two. When Steve Carlton is your starting pitcher, why would the Phillies not feel a sense of confidence looking to take a stern 2-0 series lead?
The Phillies ace was mostly locked in, allowing nothing more than a harmless single through five innings. But Royals starter and 18-game winner Larry Gura was equally effective, if not better. Gura did not allow a Phillies base runner through the first four innings but the Phillies would finally find a crack in the fifth inning. Keith Moreland got it started with a one-out ground-ball single and Garry Maddox sent a double down the left field line, putting two runners in scoring position with just one out. A sacrifice fly from Manny Trillo and a line drive single by Larry Bowa helped to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.
The Royals battled back against Carlton in the top of the sixth inning though, and even took a late lead against the Phillies. It started with a throwing error from second baseman Trillo allowing Royals first baseman Willie Aikens to reach base safely and allowing Amos Otis to score from second base. In the next inning, the top of the seventh, Carlton struggled mightily. A leadoff walk to Willie Wilson was followed by a sacrifice bunt. Wilson then stole third base during a Dave Chalk pinch hit appearance in place of an injured George Brett. Brett had left the game in the sixth inning due to a hemorrhoid pain that would require a minor surgery the next day. He returned for game three in Kansas City. Chalk would draw a walk on five pitches from Carlton and he would later steal second base during Hal McRae's at-bat. McRae also forced a walk off of Carlton to load the bases. All Carlton needed was one out, but it Otis sent a double down the left field line bring home two runs to give the Royals a 3-2 lead. McRae would score on a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of John Wathan, before a double play could be completed with the Phillies catching Otis at third base.
Down 4-2, the Phillies went down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning against reliever Dan Quisenberry and with time starting to run short. Carlton stayed on the mound for the eighth inning and was able to get out of the inning despite giving up two base hits. Then something happened in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Bob Boone started the rally with a walk after working the count full. Pinch hitter Del Unser whacked a double to left center field, scoring Boone from first base. Pete Rose grounded out but moved Unser over to third base to put the tying run at third base down 4-3 with one out. Bake McBride brought him home with an RBI single and Mike Schmidt followed with an RBI double, advancing to third base on the throw home. Keith Moreland kept things rolling with a line drive single to center field to score Schmidt and give the Phillies a stunning 6-3 lead, flipping the script in the process.
Having used a gassed McGraw in Game One, Dallas Green handed the game over to Ron Reed to relieve Carlton in the ninth inning. Reed got the job done, allowing just a single to McRae. Reed recorded the final out by striking out Wathran, giving the Phillies a 6-3 victory and pushing their series lead to 2-0 as the series was preparing to shift to Kansas City.