Nolan Ryan almost says no again
The season-defining series against the Yankees started on a Friday night with Nolan Ryan on the mound. Ryan entered the game having pitched three consecutive complete games, including a shutout of the Boston Red Sox four days earlier. Ryan had been the rock of the Angels rotation since coming over from the Mets in 1972. As much as the franchise was still searching for a winning identity, Ryan was a beacon of hope. It’s fitting that his performance started this magical weekend against the Bronx Bombers.
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Ryan took the ball on that Friday and mowed down the Yankees order, while walking five, striking out nine, and started the 9th inning with another no-hitter within his grasp. But before that, a line drive to center field that hit off the glove of Angels centerfielder Rick Miller in the top of the 8th was given the hometown call of an error instead of a hit, sparking controversy. Would a no-hitter be marred by a scorer’s judgment?
Ryan eventually saved the scorekeeper, but lost his no-hitter in the 9th by surrendering a hit to Reggie Jackson two outs away from his fifth no-no. The dominant pitching performance set the stage for the next two nights when the team’s hitters pulled two rabbits out of their hats.