Can Can, Angels Can't and Red Sox Win, 6-1

Times Staff Writer

Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd, the 25-year-old Red Sox right hander, earned both a 6-1 win over the Angels Wednesday night and a new nickname.

Angel Manager Gene Mauch wasn't sure whether it's Oil Can or Dip Stick, so he simply referred to him as "Oil Can Dip Stick Boyd."

By any name, Mauch thought he was pretty slick, though it's difficult to tell the way the Angels are hitting.

They had only four hits off Boyd, who struck out six and survived seven walks in gaining his fourth win against one defeat.

The Angels had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth and runners at first and second with no outs in the seventh. The two threats produced one run, that coming on Doug DeCinces' sacrifice fly in the sixth.

The Angels are hitting .242 on the season and .212 over the last nine games.

Mauch thinks there is a correlation between the deflated attack and Rod Carew's swollen left foot.

Carew has missed five straight games because of the bruised foot. He had a second X-ray taken Wednesday, but it showed nothing broken.

Carew attempted to take early batting and fielding practice, but he has limited flexibility and strength in his instep.

His new goal is to be ready when the Angels resume play Friday night in Milwaukee.

Carew said he may wear tennis shoes because of the discomfort he's experiencing in the harder baseball shoes. He was hitting .274 with 12 RBIs and a club-leading 20 runs when Toronto catcher Ernie Whitt came down with a shin guard on Carew's foot in a play at the plate.

"It's frustrating," Carew said, "because I was seeing the ball well and running well. I was getting on base and scoring runs. Now we're going through a period in which we're not scoring."

Said Mauch:

"We haven't put a whole lot of numbers on the board since Rodney bit the dust. We can hit better than this.

" Somebody down the line is going to pay for the outs DeCinces and (Reggie) Jackson are making right now."

DeCinces is hitting .219, while Jackson is hitting .232. They were 0 for 7 against Boyd, who is called Oil Can because oil is what beer is known as in Meridian, Miss., and that's what the young Boyd trained on.

Was Carew missed?

"He's faced Oil Can Dip Stick Boyd five times," Mauch said, "and gotten four hits."

Of Dip Stick, who, at 6-1 and 145 pounds, looks like one, Mauch said:

"It doesn't look like he's got exceptional stuff, but he's got a consistently good release point.

"He's like Jim Palmer. The ball is very hard to pick up from the high plane (at which it's released). I never thought Palmer's stuff was that good, but no one ever really saw all the ball."

This was only the Angels' fourth loss in their last 13 games, but it was the third in their last four games and reduced their American League West lead over Minnesota to one game.

Jim Slaton, who was 3-0 and had allowed only 7 runs in the 30 innings of his last four starts, was trailing 1-0 via a second-inning homer by Tony Armas, his eighth, when the Red Sox scored three runs after two were out in the fifth.

It was a what-if inning for the Angels.

Slaton had two outs with Rich Gedman on third when he walked Wade Boggs on a low and outside pitch that was backhanded by Bob Boone, who came up throwing to third.

Boone and DeCinces are baseball's best on this particular pickoff playoff, but this time there was no sign given and DeCinces, not expecting a throw on ball four, failed to cover.

Boone's throw, which might have produced the third out, bounced up and off the retreating Gedman, who then turned and scored. Consecutive singles by Dwight Evans, Jim Rice and Armas netted two more runs and Slaton's departure.

Would Gedman have been out if DeCinces was covering?

"It might have been fun," Boone said. "It took a great play for me to stop the pitch, and I thought that Gedman had to be moving (forward), thinking it got past me. I guess my thinking was more wishful than rational."

The Red Sox extended a 4-1 lead on a two-run single by Jackie Gutierrez off Tommy John in the sixth.

The Angels have three off-days in the next eight and will use just four starters in their next two turns through the rotation.

A decision was reached Wednesday to continue starting Kirk McCaskill while employing John, who had been scheduled to start Friday night, out of the bullpen.

"This gives us the luxury of two left handers in relief," explained Mauch, alluding to John and Pat Clements.

It is not certain, however, that John, who is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA, will be returned to the rotation when the Angels go back to five starters on their next home stand.

That may hinge on how McCaskill pitches and the availability of injured Geoff Zahn.

None of it has been spelled out to John, who said he was not told of his new assignment or the fact he would miss his Friday turn.

"No problem," he said. "I'll try to stay starter sharp by pitching batting practice and throwing in the bullpen.

"I've always done a lot of that anyway.

"The only real difference is that there's a predictable routine to starting that's not the same in relief."

It might have been predicted Wednesday night that the struggling Angels would come up empty against Dip Stick.

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