In the brief history of the Royals to this point, they hadn’t really come close to the franchise’s first no-hitter. That was to be expected, being an expansion team and all. They had had a couple of games where they allowed three hits, but most games were like the previous two, where they allowed a total of 25 hits.
On this Saturday afternoon in Cleveland, though, all that nearly changed. Bill Butler came close to permanently putting his name in the Royals’ record book. Instead, he had to settle for the first one-hitter in team history, as the Royals cruised to a 10-0 win at Cleveland Stadium.
There was not much no-hit drama, though. Cleveland’s Eddie Leon singled with one out in the third for the Indians’ hit. With two outs, Dave Nelson reached on an error by center fielder Joe Foy, but Butler snuffed out Cleveland’s best scoring chance with a groundout.
Butler would walk three batters over the rest of the game (he gave out four free passes overall) but none of those runners would even reach second base. Butler also picked up eight strikeouts.
Butler’s star performance was only half the story, as Kansas City scored 10 runs on 10 hits and also picked up nine walks.
Mike Fiore got things started with a solo home run in the first inning against Cleveland starter Steve Hargan. KC then added four runs in the third. Jackie Hernandez started that inning with a walk. With one out, Joe Keough singled. Paul Schaal grounded into a forceout at second, with Hernandez scoring. Fiore walked ahead of a Foy RBI single. Ed Kirkpatrick walked to load the bases. Buck Martinez singled to drive in two runs for a 5-0 lead.
The Royals then turned the game into a rout with four more runs in the fifth. Four straight singles, by Fiore, Foy, Kirkpatrick, and Martinez, started the inning and produced two runs. They also chased Hargan from the game. Relieve Ron Law got one out but then walked Jerry Adair, Hernandez, and Butler to force in a run. Keough grounded into a forceout at second for the fourth run of the inning and a 9-0 lead.
The Royals capped their scoring with more wildness by Indians pitching. In the eighth, with one out, Schaal was hit by a Larry Burchart pitch. Fiore’s single moved Schaal to third, and he scored on a wild pitch. Burchart actually issued two more walks to load the bases, but got a double play to end the inning.
The win lifted the Royals to 45-66 on the season. They were in fourth place in the AL West, 22 games behind Minnesota.
Box score and play-by-play: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE196908090.shtml
Today’s birthdays: Stan Clarke (1960), Bob Scanlan (1966), Jason Frasor (1977), Drew Butera (1983)