Royals right-hander loses lead, no-hit bid against Rangers
By Wilson Alexander
KANSAS CITY -- When Jason Hammel began the sixth inning in the Royals' 5-3 loss to the Rangers on Friday night, the right-hander worked with a 3-0 lead, and he was a little more than halfway in a no-hit bid.
When Hammel was pulled with two outs, the Rangers had tied the game on Adrian Beltre's three-run homer. All of the damage on Hammel's final line -- 5 2/3 innings, four hits and three runs -- came in the sixth inning. Hammel received a no-decision as lefty reliever Mike Minor gave up a go-ahead two-run homer to pinch-hitter Mike Napoli in the seventh.
Through five innings, Hammel had thrown 81 pitches. He said he was aware of the no-hitter, but he wasn't focused on it, especially because he thought an error charged to first baseman Eric Hosmer in the third inning could have been ruled a hit.
Hammel started the sixth inning with a flyout, but the no-hit bid ended on Elvis Andrus' infield single -- a chopper that deflected off Hammel's out-stretched glove and rolled too far for second baseman Whit Merrifield to collect the ball and toss it to Hosmer in time.
"I wish I had a longer wingspan coming off that bleeder from Andrus," said Hammel, who is 6-foot-6.
Following a single from Nomar Mazara, Beltre came to the plate. On a 2-2 slider that Hammel wanted in the dirt but left in the bottom of the strike zone, Beltre tied the game with a home run projected to travel 427 feet to left-center, according to Statcast™.
"You take back the one pitch and [Hammel] was outstanding," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"That's been the theme for the year," Hammel said. "It's just been one pitch in which, more or less, we want to be down in the zone with it. It ended up costing us. We let them back in the door there. If we shut the door there, I think we win the ballgame."
Wilson Alexander is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.