ARLINGTON -- Nolan Ryan hadn't thought about it, but Tuesday was the 39th anniversary of his May 15, 1973, no-hitter against the Royals -- the first of his seven no-hitters and the first of three no-hitters in the history of Kauffman Stadium."I remember certain things about it because it was a big moment in my career that I never anticipated -- throwing a no-hitter. Never even thought about it," Ryan said. "So when it happened, it obviously was very exciting and meaningful."
Ryan, now president of the Texas Rangers, was then a hard-throwing, 26-year-old right-hander for the California Angels. In the 3-0 victory, he struck out 12 and issued three walks."Amos Otis was the last out, and Amos and I had been teammates, so I knew him pretty well," Ryan said. "He hit a long fly ball to right-center for the out. In that ballpark, that's a good place, because when people hit the ball in the air, there's a good chance you'll get him out." Right fielder Ken Berry made the catch; he'd replaced Bob Oliver, who had homered, defensively in the seventh inning. Others of note in the Angels' lineup that day were designated hitter Frank Robinson, one of Ryan's fellow Hall of Famers, and center fielder Bobby Valentine, now the Red Sox's manager. The Royals' lineup included manager-to-be Lou Piniella in left field and first baseman John Mayberry, who struck out in all three at-bats against Ryan. That day also happened to be George Brett's 20th birthday -- he turned 59 on Tuesday -- but at that time, he was still in the Minors. Brett debuted with Kansas City later that year on Aug. 2, and he and Ryan would retire on the same day as the 1993 season ended at old Arlington Stadium. "I never viewed myself as a no-hit pitcher and I had no reason to think I'd ever be in that position again. So it was the start of a very interesting period in my career," Ryan said. Two months later, on July 15, 1973, Ryan no-hit the Tigers at Detroit and would pitch five more no-hitters in his career.
Soria, Duffy can look to Chen for inspiration
ARLINGTON -- Royals closer Joakim Soria already has had Tommy John surgery this year and starter Danny Duffy apparently is headed in that direction. If they need inspiration about recovering from the reconstructive elbow surgery, they can look no further than teammate Bruce Chen.
Chen, 35, underwent the surgery after the 2007 season, missed '08 and by '09 was back in the Major Leagues. In 2010 and '11, he led the Royals in victories with 12 in each year and he's still going.
"Soria and Duffy are very hard workers, so I have complete confidence that they're going to come back. And the medical staff here is very good, so I think they're in good hands. The bad part is we're going to miss them for at least a year, but the good part is they're going to come back the same, or better."
Chen testifies that he's better than he was pre-surgery.
"Oh, definitely," Chen said. "I feel like I'm stronger. Because of all the things that happened I learned more about my body, how to prepare myself, how to do preventive maintenance and ... how to be smart about [your training program]."
Duffy will obtain a second opinion, but with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, he's a likely candidate for the procedure.
In addition to Soria and Duffy, the Royals currently are dealing with the absences of catcher Salvador Perez, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and infielder Yuniesky Betancourt. Also on the disabled list are reliever Blake Wood and catcher Manny Pina. Pitchers Felipe Paulino and Greg Holland have been on and off the DL.
"Every team goes through it," manager Ned Yost said, but then he thought of an exception. "We didn't last year. We were really lucky last year."
Not this year.
"You just deal with it," Yost said. "It is what it is. You don't want it and you hope it doesn't happen, but it happens. It happens to everybody. You have to be able to adjust and move on, give somebody else an opportunity to showcase their talents."
On the DL front, Betancourt (ankle sprain) is doing light fielding work and Perez (knee surgery) has begun jogging. Yost said that Perez, projected to be back around the All-Star Game, appears to be ahead of schedule.
Streaking Moustakas on a roll for Royals
ARLINGTON -- Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is streaking. He's reached base in 22 consecutive games.
"I've just been trying to do anything I can to help us win," Moustakas said. "We've been playing really good baseball up to this point."
In Tuesday night's 7-4 victory over the Rangers, Moustakas hit a home run, was hit by a pitch and walked in four trips to the plate.
In the 22-game streak, Moustakas has a .346 (27-for-78) average with two walks, two hit by pitches, 11 runs, six doubles, four home runs and an on-base percentage of .420. During those 22 games, the team's record is 9-13.
"I'm just trying to be consistent. That's what this game is about -- just going out there every day and putting consistent at-bats together and try to have consistent approaches," he said.
The Majors' longest current streak for reaching base in consecutive games is Lance Berkman's 33 games for the Cardinals.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 5-0 and 9-1 victories against the White Sox followed by Monday night's 3-1 win at Texas marked the first time Royals pitchers had given up one or no runs in three straight games since a three-game sweep at Cleveland by scores of 3-1, 3-1, 4-1 on June 24-26, 2003. The starting pitchers were Chris George, Kyle Snyder and Jose Lima.
Closer Jonathan Broxton's eighth save on Monday night put him in a tie for fourth in the American League.
Hall of Famer George Brett shared a May 15 birthday on Tuesday with Triple-A Omaha pitcher Everett Teaford. Brett turned 59, Teaford 28.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.