Amos Otis was the only Royal standing between Nolan Ryan and history. The Royals’ center fielder was the only Kansas City batter to collect a hit (two, actually) as Ryan and the California Angels coasted to a 6-1 win on Tuesday night at Royals Stadium.
Ryan, who threw his first career no-hitter at Royals Stadium in 1973, kept the home team hitless through four innings in this game. Otis led off the fifth with a clean single to center field. He took second on a wild pitch with one out, and Ryan then walked Frank White and Tom Poquette to load the bases. But the Royals only got one run out of it, as Hal McRae hit a sacrifice fly and Al Cowens made the last out of the inning on a popup, keeping the score at 1-1.
Royals starter Paul Splittorff kept his team in it for six innings before weakening in the seventh. California scored one run in the third on a Gil Flores double and Jerry Remy single, and Joe Rudi hit a solo home run in the sixth to put the Angels back on top.
But the Angels broke the game open in the seventh. Don Baylor led off with a single and took second on a bunt. After an intentional walk to Bobby Grich, Terry Humphrey tried another sacrifice bunt. Splittorff fielded it and threw to third, but shortstop Freddie Patek couldn’t handle the throw. Baylor scored on the error and Grich made it to third. Flores doubled to drive in one run and Remy singled to drive in another, and California had a 5-1 lead.
Grich doubled to score Baylor with the Angels’ final run in the seventh, but the Royals were not much of a threat to do anything against Ryan. The big righthander was not as dominant as he could have been, with only six strikeouts, but he was able to work around the six walks he issued.
The loss was Kansas City’s third in a row, and dropped their record to 15-14. They were tied for fourth in the AL West with Oakland, with both teams four games out of first place.
Off the field, the American League announced that 10 players, two of them Royals, had been fined for their roles in the May 7 brawl with the Texas Rangers. Darrell Porter and John Mayberry were the two Kansas City players punished, while Texas players Juan Beniquez, John Ellis, Jim Fregosi, Willie Horton, Claudell Washington, and Bump Wills, plus manager Frank Lucchesi and coach Pat Corrales were also fined. The league office did not disclose the fine amounts, but league president Lee MacPhail issued a statement that said, “Both clubs, plus their management personnel, have been warned that violence, differentiated from competitveness, will not be tolerated and will lead to fines and suspensions. The umpires working the next series between the clubs, commencing Thursday in Kansas City, will be instructed to act quickly and decisively in the event of any incidents.”
Box score and play-by-play: