Paul Splittorff’s bid for a no-hitter highlighted the Royals’ sweep of a doubleheader over Milwaukee by scores of 3-1 and 3-0 on Friday night at Royals Stadium.
Splittorff held the Brewers hitless for 7 ⅔ innings in the second game before Charlie Moore lined a single into left field. But Splittorff retired the next four hitters to finish off his second career one-hitter; he also held Oakland to one hit in 1975.
“It was an excited feeling,” he said. “I never actually felt nervous. But I guess I don’t really expect to get a no-hitter. When he got the hit, it wasn’t really a big letdown.”
Splittorff issued three walks and struck out nine as he improved to 12-6 on the season. He got the first 11 Brewers hitters out before walking Don Money with two outs in the fourth. He also worked around a leadoff walk in the fifth and had walked Robin Yount with one out in the eighth ahead of Moore’s hit, so Yount became the only Milwaukee runner in the game to reach second.
The Royals gave Splittorff all the run support he needed in the third inning, when Frank White, Joe Zdeb, and Hal McRae all singled with one out for a 1-0 lead. Kansas City added two more runs in the fourth. With one out, Amos Otis singled off Brewers starter Bill Travers. John Wathan tripled for the second run, and John Mayberry’s fly ball scored Wathan for a 3-0 lead. Although Kansas City would not score again, that was more than enough for Splittorff.
Splittorff’s excellent outing followed a strong start by Andy Hassler in the first game, which was a makeup of a rainout on July 7. Hassler held the Brewers to two hits through seven innings before running into trouble in the eighth. Jim Wohlford and Yount started that inning with singles before Hassler issued a walk to Cecil Cooper to load the bases with the Royals clinging to a 2-0 lead. Doug Bird entered in relief and got Money to ground into a forceout at second, with Wohlford scoring. Bird then got Sal Bando to hit into a double play, ending the inning.
The Royals then added an insurance run in their half of the eighth. Milwaukee starter Moose Haas was still on the mound, but after walking McRae with one out, he was pulled in favor of Bob McClure. But the new pitcher gave up a single to George Brett, then turned the ball over to Bill Castro. Al Cowens greeted the new hurler with an RBI single, Bird retired the side in order in the ninth for save number 10 on the year, and the Royals had a win in the first game.
Kansas City’s first two runs in the first game came early. An Otis single and McRae double with one out in the third got the Royals on the board, and McRae also doubled with two outs in the fifth to score Freddie Patek, who had started the inning with a double of his own.
With the sweep, the Royals improved to 78-54. They were in first place in the AL West. Texas won while Minnesota and Chicago both lost, so the Royals had suddenly opened up a little breathing room in the race, holding a four-game lead over the White Sox and Rangers and 4.5 games over the Twins.
Box score and play-by-play (first game):
Box score and play-by-play (second game):