Pinch-hitter Davey Johnson laced a clean single to center field with two outs in the ninth inning to break up Minnesota southpaw Jim Kaat’s bid for the second no-hitter of this baseball season in the Twins’ 6-0 victory in Baltimore over the Orioles before a scant crowd of 7.874. Kaat (6-6) was masterful as only a fifth inning pass to Brooks Robinson kept Kaat from possible perfection. In this season so dominated by pitching, Angels’ rookie Tom Murphy has pitched the sole no-hitter. On the other hand, there have been 22 one-hitters thrown this season. Eight of those 22 one-hitters were no-hitters spoiled in the ninth inning. Four potential no-hitters, including Kaat’s effort today, have been disrupted with one out remaining.
Tony Oliva put Kaat and the Twins ahead with a two-run homer off Orioles starter Tom Phoebus (11-7) in the fifth inning. Oliva’s second home run of the game, a three-run clout, highlighted a four-run eighth providing additional insurance for Kaat as he focused on preventing the Birds from not only scoring, but hitting. After Johnson’s single in the ninth, Kaat retired Don Buford to preserve the shutout victory.