The tension rose with each inning Mike Flanagan kept the Oakland A's hitless. After completing two-thirds of the job, the young Baltimore Oriole left-hander couldn't help being aware he was flirting with a pitcher's dream.
"I started thinking about the no-hitter after six innings," said the 26-year-old Flanagan. "There are nine outs to go, I kept telling myself, but the no-hitter was secondary."
After Dell Alston walked and stole second, Flanagan got the first out in the Oakland seventh, then faced 13-year veteran Rico Carty.
"I didn't have the luxury of a big lead, so I couldn't pitch around any of their hitters," said Flanagan.
So he battled Carty and lost. The designated hitter, acquired last Monday from Toronto in the Willie Horton deal, slapped a run-scoring single and Baltimore's lead was cut to 3-1.
"That makes about 20 no-hitters I've broken up," said the 38-year-old Carty. "Sometimes pitchers are not that good when they're pitching a no-hitter, but this guy was very good. He's a smart pitcher. I don't care how old he is. He's smart."
Flanagan, 16-11, gave up two more hits - Bruce Robinson's double and Mitchell Page's RBI single in the ninth - while striking out eight and walking three to pace the Orioles' 3-2 victory and hand the A's their ninth loss in 10 games.
"I'm not surprised Carty got the first hit. He's a great one," said Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver. "I get excited like everyone else when a pitcher has a no-hitter, but I only think about the next hitter, I don't look ahead."
Eddie Murray's third-inning single delivered two unearned Baltimore runs and Kiko Garcia's ninth-inning single scored Terry Crowley with the game-winner. Tigers 9, Twins 6
Lance Parrish knocked in six runs with the first grand slam of his career and a two-run triple to help Jack Billingham (14-5) to his ninth consecutive victory.
Tim Corcoran singled, took second on a sacrifice and took third on Ron LeFlore's single. LeFlore stole second - his 57th theft of the season and 26th consecutive successful attempt - and Rusty Staub walked to set up Parish's 12th home run of the year. That gave Detroit a 9-2 lead in the seventh.
The steal by LeFlore tied the AL mark for consecutive thefts set last season by Oakland's Mitchell Page and left him 12 short of tying the major league mark set by the Dodger's Dave Lopes. NATIONAL LEAGUE Padres 7, Phillies 3
Gayland Perry, 39, the wily veteran who has recorded at least 15 victories in each of the last 13 years, appears to be making a run at the Cy Young Award as the league's best pitcher.
Perry (15-6) was helped by Fernando Gonzalez's four hits and a two-run homer by Gene Tenace. Astros 8, Cubs 3
Jose Cruz had four hits and drove in four runs as Houston ran its home hot streak to 15 victories in the last 17 games.However, the triumph was the first for Houston in seven games after it dropped six in a row at Pittsburgh.
Joe Sambito hurled 1 1/3 innings to preserve J.R. Richard's 13th victory. Giants 4, Mets 2
Jerry Koosman pitched magnificently for New York but, as his 3-13 record and 3.66 ERA would indicate, got little help from his teammates. His 13 strikeouts tied the high for the NL this season.
Willie McCovey singled to open the 11th, pinch-runner Terry Whitfield was safe when Mare Hill's sacrifice bunt was fielded by pitcher Kevin Kobel and thrown late to second, and Johnnie LeMaster sacrificed. Rob Andrews followed with a two-run triple. Expos 4, Dodgers 2
Bases-empty homers by Andre Dawson, who was 4-for-4, Warren Cromartie and Gary Carter carried Ross Grimsley to his 15th victory. Cardinals 14, Reds 9
St. Louis belted 23 hits, including four each by George Hendrick and Jerry Mumphrey and three by Lou Brock. That more than offset a two-homer, six-RBI night for Ken Griffey.