An article in yesterday's paper incorrectly stated that Nolan Ryan lost to the New York Yankees last week in Texas. It was a no- decision. (Published 8/2/90)
MILWAUKEE, JULY 31 -- The milestone Nolan Ryan once thought unreachable is his. It came tonight with a fastball flourish against the overmatched Milwaukee Brewers, with Ryan producing eight strikeouts, two standing ovations and, to his relief, victory No. 300.
Perhaps as impressive as his record six no-hitters or 5,000-plus strikeouts, Ryan, who teamed with reliever Brad Arnsberg in leading the Texas Rangers to an 11-3 victory over the Brewers, became the 20th pitcher in major league history to win 300 games. His career record is 300-267 and his season mark is 11-4.
It was Ryan's second bid at No. 300, having lost to the New York Yankees last week in Texas. Milwaukee, although second in the American League in runs scored, caused Ryan considerably less trouble; the 43-year-old right-hander quickly erasing the memory of his squandered opportunity against the light-hitting Yankees, to whom he surrendered 10 hits and seven runs in eight innings.
"To be honest, I'm relieved that it's over," Ryan said. "The last 15-day period has been about as tough a 15 days as I've gone through."
Greeted with a standing ovation by a season-high crowd of 51,533 at County Stadium as he walked from the bullpen to the Texas dugout before the game, Ryan then allowed six hits in 7 2/3 innings and walked two. He threw 146 pitches (103 strikes, 43 balls), and only one of the three runs he allowed was earned. It wasn't Ryan's best performance, but he avoided serious problems until the eighth, and those problems were far from his fault.
A pair of errors by second baseman Julio Franco on potential double-play balls made Ryan work harder, eventually prompting Manager Bobby Valentine to bring in Arnsberg with two out in the eighth.
Paul Molitor led off the eighth for the Brewers with a single, moving to second when Franco mishandled Robin Yount's grounder. Ryan got Gary Sheffield on a popout, but Franco's error on Dave Parker's grounder scored Molitor and sent Yount to third. After retiring Greg Vaughn, Ryan yielded a run-scoring single to Jim Gantner. That convinced Valentine to pull Ryan, who walked off the mound to another extended salute from the crowd.
"The eighth inning was a tough inning physically on me," said Ryan, who has had lower-back problems since mid-May and was on the disabled list from May 18 until June 5. "I didn't at any time anticipate finishing the game."
Arnsberg, by far Valentine's most reliable reliever, thus earned a chance "all of the boys in the bullpen would have liked to have," Ryan said.
Of course, Arnsberg's job was made considerably easier by the Rangers' six-run outburst in the top of the ninth, starting with Pete Incaviglia's leadoff homer.
It was 7-3 when Franco's turn came up, and given the chance to atone for his miscues, the All-Star Game's most valuable player delivered a grand slam, his seventh homer of the season.
Arnsberg allowed only a single to Molitor in the ninth, earning his third -- and biggest -- save.
"I'm just happy for Nolan," Arnsberg said. "He's the best there'll ever be.
Actually, Milwaukee starter Chris Bosio outpitched Ryan for the first four innings. Bosio, winless since May 20, set down 12 in a row before Ruben Sierra's single to center to lead off the fifth.
That was only the beginning. Harold Baines followed with a single, after which Bosio loaded the bases by walking Incaviglia. Gino Petralli's fly ball to right scored Baines to tie the game at 1; Steve Buechele's single to left scored Baines to make it 2-1. Two batters later Texas shortstop Jeff Huson lined a two-run triple to right, giving Ryan a 4-1 cushion.
The Rangers (52-50), who started the day trailing Oakland by 12 games in the American League West, added to the lead in the sixth, knocking Bosio out of the game despite wasting Rafael Palmiero's leadoff triple.
Texas's early offensive outburst was altogether different than in Ryan's last game, when the Rangers waited until Ryan was removed from the game before they started scoring runs. He left that game trailing, 7-3, having allowed home runs to Kevin Maas, Roberto Kelly and Bob Geren.
"I'm just pleased to have it over with," Ryan said. "It was strictly my poor performance that kept me from winning at Arlington."
Said Valentine: "It's great that we get to share in the moment. . . . He's the most deserving person to get this kind of attention that I've ever been around."