A team that hadn't lost under its new manager came up against a pitcher who hadn't given up a run in two weeks.
Now the manager has a loss. The pitcher, David Cone, still has his scoreless string, which reached 28 innings with a one-hitter as the Kansas City Royals snapped a four-game Angel winning streak with a 4-0 victory Sunday at Anaheim Stadium. The Royals ended a 3-0 honeymoon for Manager Marcel Lachemann.
Chili Davis' single to left field leading off the fifth inning was the Angels' only hit, but they are still leaving on an eight-game trip to Detroit, Toronto and Cleveland in a good mood. Sunday's loss in front of 35,915 did not lessen the euphoria surrounding their winning streak and the kinder, gentler Lachemann.
"I think there's a great attitude on this team right now," Davis said. "I think the guys are going to play really hard for him. I hated to see the game end in a double play, because we weren't thinking it was over. That's the mode we're in right now. Until the last out is made, we think we can win."
There was no dramatic rally against Cone, however. Leading off the ninth, Gary DiSarcina reached on an error by Wally Joyner, was forced by Harold Reynolds and Chad Curtis ended the game with a bouncer to Cone, who started the double play. Cone (8-1) leads the league in victories.
"Today was just a case of a guy having an 89-91 m.p.h. fastball, a good forkball, a hell of slider and the confidence to throw all three any time," left fielder Dwight Smith said. "You just have to take your hat off to the guy."
Cone, 31, has allowed eight hits in his last three games, which include a 9-0 victory over Minnesota on May 11 and a 4-0 victory at Seattle on Tuesday. On Sunday, he pitched the 43rd complete game, 19th shutout and third one-hitter of his career.
"I know pitching is not easy, but he's making it look easy," Royal Manager Hal McRae said. "There were no threats for nine innings. It made for a very relaxing afternoon to watch a ballgame."
Mark Langston, making his third start for the Angels since arthroscopic elbow surgery April 12, gave up 10 hits--two of them home runs--in 5 2/3 innings. John Dopson, recently dropped from the starting rotation, retired all 10 batters he faced in relief of Langston (2-2).
The Royals got to Langston for a run in the second inning when Dave Henderson walked and Felix Jose and Hubie Brooks singled to right field.
Kansas City went ahead, 3-0, in the third. Terry Shumpert hit Langston's first pitch over the center field fence. One out later, Henderson crushed Langston's 0-1 delivery, depositing it 20 rows deep in the left field seats.
Cone was perfect through the first three innings. He gave up a walk to Reynolds in the fourth, and then Davis ended any no-hit hopes when he hit Cone's 1-2 fastball.
"There's no way I was thinking no-hitter," Cone said. "I'm getting early runs and that makes me that much more comfortable and that much more aggressive. I established a good fastball on the inside part of the plate early, and that set up a lot of other stuff later."
Smith's warning-track fly ball to center field in the fifth inning and DiSarcina's line-drive out to right in the third were the only balls the Angels hit hard all afternoon. Davis singled only because he is strong enough to deal with Cone's outside fastball.
"He's not going to give in to you," Davis said. "You're going to have to hit his pitch. He throws from so many angles and at so many speeds, he keeps you pretty uncomfortable. It's like he's inventing pitches out there."
Despite the loss, Lachemann's post-game analysis was upbeat.
"I've seen a lot of real good things the last four days and I liked the way we kept battling today," he said. "We were sure going to try to win them all, but I imagine we might even lose another one in there somewhere."