Bret Saberhagen is only 21, but the right-hander from Reseda is already a pennant-race veteran.
Saberhagen kept Kansas City’s bid for a second straight AL West title on track when he pitched a three-hitter and beat the A’s, 2-1, Saturday at Oakland, boosting the Royals three games ahead of the Angels.
Hal McRae drove in the Royals’ runs with a two-run homer in the sixth.
In improving his record to 18-6, Saberhagen had a career-high 12 strikeouts.
Saberhagen pitched two fine games against the Angels last September to highlight the Royals’ drive to the title. On Sept. 18, he held the Angels to four hits in seven innings in a 10-0 win, then on Sept. 24 beat them, 4-0, on a three-hitter.
“He’s good now but he’s getting better,” veteran catcher Jim Sundberg told the Associated Press. “It’s almost scary to think how good he’ll be when he’s been around a few years.”
A’s Manager Jackie Moore said of Saberhagen: “If there’s a better right-handed starter in the league this year, I don’t know who he is. He threw every pitch to the spot he wanted.”
It was a tough loss for former Angel Tommy John, who went eight innings and gave up only five hits.