The timing couldn't have been better.
Nolan Ryan, celebrating the one year anniversary of his no-hitter against the Oakland A's, threw his 61st career shutout Tuesday night, blanking the Chicago White Sox, 2-0.The shutout tied him with Tom Seaver for eighth on the all-time list and was the 44-year-old Ryan's first win since his May 1 no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays. More importantly the victory ended the Rangers eight-game losing streak.
"I didn't have good stuff in the bull pen," said Ryan, 4-4, who spent 15 days on the disabled list when the Rangers were winning 14 straight last month. "But that doesn't always mean you won't have good stuff when the game starts.
Ryan's "stuff" found its way to the mound where he struck out 10 and allowed six hits to halt Chicago's win streak at five games.
The Ryan Express has now struck out at least 10 batters in a game 210 times and, despite his stint on the disabled list last month, he is second in the American League in strikeouts with 86.
It was also Ryan's 716th start, tying him for third place in that category with 300-game winner Phil Niekro. Cy Young started 818 games and Don Sutton 756.
"Ryan never ceases to amaze me," Chicago Manager Jeff Torborg said. "I've seen him sharper and I've seen him faster. But look at the linescore."
Twins 5, Yankees 3
At Minneapolis, Kent Hrbek's bouncing single scored two runs in the eighth inning against New York to rally the Twins to their 10th straight victory. TThe Twins have won 13 of their last 14 contests and are closing in on the club record of 12 straight victories. Kevin Tapani, 4-6, retired 13 of the first 15 batters he faced, giving up six hits over eight innings. John Habyan dropped to 4-2. Rick Aguilera pitched the ninth for his 17th save.
Royals 11, Orioles 0
At Baltimore, Carmelo Martinez capped Kansas City's six-run third inning with a three-run double to power the Royals. Mark Gubicza, 2-3, boosted his career record at Memorial Stadium to 4-0 by scattering four singles over six innings. He struck out three and walked two before relief pitcher Steve Crawford picked up his first save of the season.
Tigers 5, Athletics 1
At Oakland, Calif., Bill Gullickson and Mike Henneman combined on a four-hitter night and Mickey Tettleton drove in a pair of runs to lead Detroit. Gullickson, 7-3, allowed one run on four hits, walked two and struck out one over 72/3 innings. Henneman struck out Dave Henderson to escape a two-on eighth and pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save. Oakland starter Andy Hawkins, 1-4, allowed six hits and three runs.
Indians 2, Blue Jays 1
At Cleveland, Ken Dayley hit Alex Cole with a pitch with the bases loaded in the 12th inning to score Carlos Baerga and snap the Indians' five-game losing streak. Winning pitcher Shawn Hillegas, 2-0, threw two hitless innings in relief of starter Greg Swindell. Jim Acker, 1-4, took the loss.
Red Sox 8, Mariners 5
At Seattle, two home runs by Ellis Burks and a two-run shot by Jack Clark powered Boston. The Red Sox, winners of four of their last five games, have hit six home runs in their last two contests after slugging only one in the previous six games. Danny Darwin, 3-3, went five innings to pick up the win. Jeff Reardon pitched the final inning for his 16th save. Loser Scott Bankhead, 2-5, gave up four of Boston's runs on seven hits in four innings.
Angels 4, Brewers 3
At Anaheim, Calif., Luis Polonia singled in the tie-breaking run in the sixth inning to support Mark Langston's season-high nine strikeout performance, lifting California. Langston, 8-2, allowed seven hits and three runs over 72/3 innings to record his seventh win in his last eight apperances. Bryan Harvey got the last four outs for his 15th save. Polonia - hitless in his previous 13 at bats - delivered his one-out, game-winning hit in the sixth off Kevin Brown, 2-3.
Astros 1, Phillies 0
Ken Oberkfell simply stood at home plate and watched Roger McDowell issue him a one-out, bases-loaded walk on four straight pitches in the 11th inning Tuesday night, forcing in Ken Caminiti for the winning run in the Houston Astros' 1-0 triumph over the Philadelphia Phillies.
"I just tried to throw a strike and couldn't," said McDowell.
McDowell, 3-2, actually closed with eight straight balls after having intentionally walked Steve Finley to load the bases. Caminiti had singled to right and Jeff Bagwell singled Caminiti to third before McDowell's free pass to Finley set up Oberkfell's winning walk.
Mets 2, Braves 1
At New York, Frank Viola surrendered four hits over 81/3 innings and Kevin McReynold hit two-run homer in the fourth inning to lead the Mets. Viola, 7-3, was one out shy of his fourth complete game when interrupted by a 57-minute rain delay. John Franco pitched to the final two batters for his 13th save. Viola pitched hitless ball for a career-long 52/3 innings, allowing one run, one walk, and striking out four. Charlie Leibrandt, 5-5, suffered the loss.
Reds 6, Expos 1
At Montreal, Chris Sabo collected three hits and doubled in two runs and Norm Charlton allowed five hits over six innings to lead Cincinnati. Charlton, 3-5, had been sidelined by tendinitis in his left shoulder since May 15. He struck out four for Cincinnati's third straight victory. Chris Nabholz, 2-4, suffered the loss. Paul O'Neill added two hits and drove in a run for the Reds.
Giants 8, Cubs 6
At Chicago, Jose Uribe scored from third base on Rick Wilkins' passed ball with two out in the 10th inning to break a tie to pace San Francisco.
Dave Smith, 0-3, suffered the loss. Kelly Downs, 3-4, got the win. Dave Righetti earned his sixth save. San Francisco's Matt Williams hit a leadoff homer in the ninth off Smith, who had just entered the game, to tie the score at 6-6. Smith had saved 10 of his previous 11 opportunities.
Cardinals 10, Padres 4
At San Diego, Milt Thompson homered and doubled to drive in three runs to power the Carinals. St. Louis, which has a major-league low 18 home runs this season, hit two home runs in a game for only the fourth time this year. Padres pitchers have allowed a major-league high 60 home runs this year. Ken Hill, 6-3, gave up 10 hits but only three runs over six innings, striking out three batters. Rookie Jose Melendez fell to 1-2.