Just in case Brian Barber didn't notice he had a chance to make history, a security guard cheerfully reminded the rookie he was throwing a no-hitter.
As Barber mowed down the Orioles, no one on the Kansas City bench would dare break the unwritten law of talking about his no-hitter. In fact, virtually no one really talked to him -- except a chatty guard who obviously knew little about baseball.
"Nobody came up and said much," Barber said. "A security guard had a little conversation with me, that was about it. ... He asked me when you start thinking about a no-hitter. I told him I didn't know, I'd never thrown one before."
It didn't happen, but Barber wasn't at all despondent. Because it was only his 13th game in the majors, he was more concerned about holding down a 2-0 lead.
"The no-hitter never really came into thought because of the game situation. At this point right now I'm just trying to win games," he said. "The win is more important than that."
Barber (2-1) allowed only two walks before Ripken doubled into the left-field corner. Barber then struck out B.J. Surhoff but was lifted after giving up a leadoff single to Chris Hoiles in the eighth. He walked two and strucout two in his longest stint in the majors.
Barber signed with the Royals as a free agent in January and attended spring training as a non-roster player. He was 8-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 22 starts with Triple-A Omaha this season before being called up Aug. 19.
The right-hander gave up eight runs in 1 2-3 innings against Boston in his initial start with the Royals, then earned his first major-league win since 1995 by defeating Toronto Monday. He pitched 6 1/3 innings in that game, his longest stint in the majors before Saturday.
Barber,25 , toiled in the minors in 1996 with the exception of one game with the Cardinals. He began last season on the disabled list after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right elbow and played on three minor-league teams.
"He's not really intimidated," Royals manager Tony Muser said. "He's a guy who's adjusting from throwing 94 or 95 miles an hour before he hurt his arm to a guy who's learning how to pitch. That's a transition."
Apparently, Barber is on the right path.
"That was quite an impressive game," Orioles manager Ray Miller said. "The name of the game is to throw strike one and to change your speeds, and Barber did both. He was painting both sides of the plate."
After Hoiles singled, Matt Whisenant relieved and gave up a single to Lenny Webster and a run-scoring grounder to Roberto Alomar before retiring Brady Anderson on a groundout with a runner on third.
Jeff Montgomery got the last out for his 30th save. The Royals won for eighth time in 10 games.
The loss dropped the sinking Orioles into fourth place in the AL East and left them 11 games behind Boston in the wild-card chase.
"We're physically beat up and maybe emotionally spent," Miller said.
An RBI single by Jermaine Dye produced the game's first run in th2e second inning and successive doubles by Mendy Lopez and Johnny Damon made it 2-0 against Mike Mussina in the third.
Mussina, working on three days' rest for the first time this season, gave up two runs and six hits in six innings. Mussina (12-8) walked two and had one strikeout -- the first time this season he walked more batters than he struck out.
Kansas City catcher Sal Fasano left in the fifth after straining his right hamstring running out a double. Afterward, he wondered whether his presence might have made a difference for Barber.
"I would like to see what would have happened if I were still in there still. Maybe we could have had history," he said. "You never know."
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