Chris Chambliss, whose ninth-inning home run against Kansas City last October gave New York the American League pennant, blasted a three-run pinch-Homer with two out in the eighth inning today, boosting the Yankees to a 5-3 triumph over the Royals in a controversial make-up game bewween the league's divisional leaders.
Chambliss, fighting a recent batting slump, was the first batter to face reliever Doug Bird, after Steve Mingori allowed a one-out single to Lou Piniella.Chambliss then hit a towering drive over the fence in right-center, which just cleared a baliant leap by right fielder Al Cowens, a blow remarkably similar to last year's pennant-winner.
Chambliss blast wiped out a 3-2 kansas City lead built when George Brett and Cowens slammed the 26th and 27th home runs off Catfish Hunter this season.
Brett hammered a solo homer into the upper deck in right in the fourth and Cowens gave the Rotals the lead in the sixth when he hit a two-run shot off the screen attached to the left-field foul pole in the sixth after Brett's one-out single.
Royals' starter Paul Splittorff was relieved by Mingori in the seventh after allowing seven hits, including a solo homer by Cliff Johnson in the fifth which gave the Yankees a brief 2-1 lead. Chambliss' game-winning homer can as a pinch hitter for Johnson.
The Royals lost for only the second time in their last 13 games. The Yankees have won 19 of 22.
Kansas City manager Whitey Herzog, incensed at having his team ordered back to New York on its first scheduled day off in almost three weeks to make up a July 25 postponement, displayed his anger by starting three of his starting pitchers besides Splittorff in the starting lineup. However, he lifted the thee and replaced them with his regulars in the first inning.
Prior to the game, Herzog castigated Yankee owner George Steinbrenner for a calling the game on its oringinal date due to rain, which Herzog claimed had stopped well before gametime.
Yankee president Gabe Paul issued astatement during today's game in which he said, "I wish Whitey Herzog would stop popping off about things he doesn't know anything about. The decision to postpone the game was made by me, and if there is any criticism it should be directed at me and not at George Steinbrenner, who is being criticized for a decision he did not make.
"Whitey can blast me all he wants, I don't give a damn."
The three pitchers the Royals used in their batting order were Dennis Leonard as the designated hitter, Jim Colborn as the right fielder and Andy Hassler as the first baseman.Leonard and Colborn were pitch hit for by the regulars in those positions in the first inning and Hassler was replaced by John Mayberry at first when the Royals took the field.