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Archive for Monday, October 4, 2004

Dreadful K.C. season finally ends

October 4, 2004

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— Jose Contreras didn't even know he had a no-hitter going until just about the time it ended.

Contreras allowed two hits in eight innings Sunday, leading the Chicago White Sox over the Kansas City Royals, 5-0, on the final day of the regular season.

He kept the Royals off balance all day long with a crisp assortment of breaking pitches.

"He was working real fast and throwing strikes," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "It's good to go out on a win. You have to play for something, either it's RBIs, a win or next season."

After going 83-79 and finishing second to the Twins last year, Kansas City set a team record for losses by going 58-104, breaking the mark set when the Royals went 62-100 in 2000. The Royals, hurt by injuries, lost eight of their last nine games.

"It's been a bitterly disappointing year," Royals general manager Allard Baird said.

Kansas City was shut out 13 times, matching Tampa Bay for the most in the AL.

Contreras (13-9) struck out four and walked two. He sat down 16 straight batters until Ruben Gotay singled leading off the seventh. The only other hit he allowed was a single in the same inning by Matt Stairs.

Reliever Shingo Takatsu pitched the ninth, completing a three-hitter.

"Thank heavens I was able to get that hit," Gotay said. "After everything else that's happened to us this year, we sure didn't want to end the year by getting no-hit."

The Royals, buoyed by the encouraging finish a year ago, averaged a little better than 21,000 per game in attendance, their third-highest since 1994.

Joe Randa, the popular third baseman who probably was playing his last game for Kansas City, went 0-for-3 with a walk and received a standing ovation every time he batted.

"That was something I never expected," Randa said. "It means so much, it's hard to put into words. I just wish we could have done a better job for these fans this year. They deserve better."

Zack Greinke (8-11) allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings. He went 0-2 in his last four starts.

Willie Harris and Joe Borchard each had three hits for the White Sox, who ended a disappointing season with an 83-79 record and second-place finish in the AL Central. The White Sox had contended until injuries took sluggers Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez out for the year.

Notes: Randa is eighth on the Royals career list with 1,019 games. ... For the first time in franchise history, no Royals pitcher won 10 games.

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