Tommy John limited Kansas City to seven hits in 7 2/3 innings and got spotless relief help from Goose Gossage in New York last night.

Graig Nettles drove in the deciding run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, snapping a 1-1 tie, as the Yankees won the first meeting this season between the 1980 American League division champions.

Dave Winfield and Reggie Jackson, celebrating his 35th birthday, opened the sixth against Paul Splittorff (0-4) with singles. Lou Piniella sacrificed the runners ahead and Nettles hit his fly ball.

New York scored in the third on consecutive doubles by Bucky Dent and Dennis Werth. Kansas City got to John (5-3) for a run in the second on a leadoff double by Amos Otis and Frank White's single.

John was in trouble in the third when Willie Wilson tripled with one out. But U.L. Washington and Willie Aikens were retired on grounders. Hal McRae opened the fourth with a double and went to third on Otis's long fly to right. Then, with John Wathan at bat, McRae broke for the plate, was caught in a rundown and retired.

John was relieved after giving up a two-out single to Aikens in the eighth. Gossage recorded his 11th save.