The Royals had been down this road before. After being no-hit just once in their 40-year franchise history -- by Nolan Ryan, no less -- they were held hitless by Boston's Jon Lester back on May 19.
Now, on Wednesday, this kid from the Detroit Tigers, Armando Galarraga, had the Royals in his iron grip for six perfect innings. They hadn't come close to a hit.
"I knew it because I was DHing and I was in the cage and I had to hear Ryan [Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre] talk about it all the time," the Royals' David DeJesus said.
Finally, leading off the seventh, DeJesus got a full count and lined a solid single into right field. The perfect game went poof, but Galarraga still got the victory, 7-1, on an 84-degree overcast afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
At least there was no embarrassment of another no-hitter. And, don't forget, the Lester no-no started the Royals on a 12-game skid.
"After you get to the fifth or sixth inning, you worry about it, yeah," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Especially when you're a team that's been no-hit already. The last thing you want is for that to happen again."
Just in case Galarraga, a 6-foot-4 rookie from Caracas, Venezuela, didn't know he had a no-hitter going, the Kansas City crowd of 16,594 kept him informed.
"The fans, when I came in during the fourth, fifth, sixth would be like, 'You got a no-hitter, man,'" Galarraga said.
Not that he wanted to feel at ease.
"I don't want to get comfortable," he said. "I want to feel the pressure. You don't ever want to get comfortable."
Galarraga left after the seventh inning. He gave up three hits, a walk and struck out eight.
"He was on and we got down early and we definitely had a little sluggish feeling," DeJesus said. "But once we got that hit, it kind of rejuvenated us. We got that run but we couldn't push more across."
DeJesus' single was followed by an out, but Esteban German walked and Jose Guillen singled home a run. That snapped Guillen's 0-for-14 swoon. Alex Gordon singled to load the bases but Galarraga struck out Mark Teahen and Miguel Olivo flied out.
"He stuck with what he did best," Gordon said. "The scouting report said sinkerball, and he likes to get ground-ball outs and that's what he did. He used the slider when he needed it to punch somebody out and that's basically what it was."
Galarraga leads American League rookies with eight victories.
"He was very good and we made him look better because we were lethargic," Hillman said. "We didn't have much energy at all."
Hillman quickly pointed out that the Tigers played with the same disadvantage, coming back in less than 13 hours for a day game after a rain-delayed night game. Of course, the Tigers had an adrenaline kick from winning the first two games of the series.
In fact, after losing the first six games this year to the Royals, the Tigers swept this three-game series and outscored the Royals, 33-6.
"The first two series we didn't see the true offensive production that they have the capability of producing," Hillman said. "This series, we did."
For example, Miguel Cabrera went 8-for-16 in the series with 10 RBIs. Magglio Ordonez sat out the first game, then went 6-for-10 with four RBIs. The hits just kept coming -- 43 for the series.
Zack Greinke was the starter who got combed over on Wednesday. By the third inning the Tigers had a 5-0 lead. And when they added two runs against reliever Horacio Ramirez in the seventh, the only unanswered question was, Would the Royals get a hit?
Then DeJesus lined his single. Another no-hitter had been avoided.
"It's good that we got it," DeJesus said. "We didn't want to have that again, that whole thing on SportsCenter and all that stuff."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less