Angels Outclaw the Tigers and Morris in 6-3 Victory
A sputtering Angel offense picked up some loose parts in the Motor City Friday night and manufactured a 6-3 victory, of which Manager Gene Mauch said:
“We got a lot out of a little and we needed it badly.”
Loose is the only way to describe how the world champion Detroit Tigers played.
They helped the Angels with seven walks, four errors and two unearned runs--not to forget a balk and wild pitch.
The Angels, who had collected only 13 hits in losing their previous three games, capitalized on an eight-hit attack that saddled Jack Morris with his fifth loss against six victories.
“I don’t think we hurt him as much as he hurt himself,” a candid Mauch said, alluding to the 7-inning stint in which Morris delivered four walks and a wild pitch.
The Detroit ace ultimately yielded five runs, all of which could have been prevented with better control and defense.
The Angels, having hit .217 in May, their team average falling from a modest .262 on April 29 to an American League low .236, will take ‘em anyway they can get ‘em.
Reggie Jackson said as much when he attempted to inject some life in a quiet clubhouse by yelling, “Fight, scratch, claw, do anything.”
The Angels did, scoring twice on ground outs, twice on singles by a rejuvenated Bob Boone, once on a bunt by Rob Wilfong and once on a bloop single by Dick Schofield, who is hitting .198 and will also take ‘em anyway he can get ‘em.
The Tigers, who have more errors than home runs (47-46) and are 25-19 compared to 36-8 a year ago, now trail Toronto by 4 1/2 games in the East. The Angels are a game up on Kansas City in the West and are 17-2 in those games in which Donnie Moore has pitched.
Moore pitched the final 2 innings of this one, earning his 11th save to tie Willie Hernandez for the league lead. “We’ve just got to give him more opportunities,” said Mauch, a reference to the fact that it had been six days since the Angel offense put Moore in a save situation.
He came on with two on and one out in the seventh to strike out Lance Parrish and retire Darrell Evans on a pop to short.
He struck out two more in a flawless eighth, yielded an infield hit opening the ninth, then got Lou Whitaker on a fly to left before walking Larry Herndon.
The next two hitters represented the tying run, and Moore only had to think back to the first inning to remember the consecutive homers hit by Kirk Gibson and Parrish off Kirk McCaskill. He put it out of his head and struck out both, Gibson on a split-finger fastball (“the pitch that turned Donnie’s career around,” Mauch said) and Parrish on a slider.
McCaskill, walking a tightrope in his bid to retain a rotation berth that may ultimately go to former Montreal right-hander Steve Rogers, shook off the Gibson-Parrish homers and fought off the Tigers until the fifth, when a walk to Whitaker and a triple by Larry Herndon temporarily tied the game, 3-3.
McCaskill left with two on and two out in that inning, and Pat Clements came in to strike out Evans. The rookie left-hander ultimately gained his fourth win without defeat, yielding to Moore in the seventh but only after he had struck out the left-handed Gibson in a two-on, no-out situation.
Morris, who boasted the league’s best ERA, 2.14, retired the first nine Angels in order and maintained a no-hitter through the fourth, when the Angels scored an unearned run on Tom Brookens’ bobble of a Gary Pettis grounder, a stolen base, a wild pitch and a ground out.
That set the pattern. The Angels got two more in the fifth on a walk to Boone, a Bobby Grich single, a sacrifice by Schofield, a ground out by Pettis and a bunt single by Wilfong.
Another walk and a two out-single by Boone in the sixth gave the Angels a 4-3 lead that they expanded to 5-3 in the eighth on a two-out throwing error by Evans and ensuing singles by Grich and Schofield. A single by Juan Beniquez and two more walks preceded another two-out single by Boone in the ninth, accounting for the sixth run.
It was during the first week of May that Boone, exasperated by a .189 average in the wake of his .202 of last year, made a significant alteration in his stance. He lengthened his stride to eliminate body movement and put the emphasis on his hands.
Boone is now hitting .256, having batted .320 in May and .362 over the last 19 games.
“I had wanted to make this change for the last 10 years,” he said, “but I was apprehensive and I needed the reinforcement I got from (batting coach) Moose Stubbing. I keep refining it and keep getting more confident. In fact, I don’t remember ever being this confident. It’s fun to come to the park when you have a weapon on your side.”
On many recent nights, Boone has seemed to be the Angels’ only weapon.
Angel Notes How Embarrassing Dept.: Gary Pettis’ streak of consecutive stolen bases, snapped in New York Thursday night, was 22 and not 24 as the nation’s media had been reporting. A re-check by the Angel publicity department showed that Pettis was caught stealing in the last game of 1984, a fact forgotten amid the hoopla surrounding Mike Witt’s perfect game. . . . Reggie Jackson, who returned to the lineup as the designated hitter Thursday night, was on the bench again Friday. Manager Gene Mauch said Jackson’s hamstring strain was still not 100% “and I don’t want him thinking DH. I want him coming back as the right fielder.” Added Mauch: “You can also check the stats and find that he strikes out half the time against (Jack) Morris.” Jackson pinch hit against Aurelio Lopez and grounded back to the mound. . . . Doug DeCinces, eligible since Thursday to come off the disabled list, took infield practice for the first time since suffering his latest episode of back spasms May 10 and said he would be ready as a designated hitter today and ready to play Sunday. “I definitely expect to be playing in Baltimore,” DeCinces said, alluding to a three-game series starting Monday night. The Angels will make room for DeCinces by returning Jack Howell to Edmonton. . . . Center fielder Chet Lemon (strained ligaments in his left wrist) and shortstop Alan Trammell (flu) were missing from the Tiger lineup. . . . Witt (2-5) faces Dan Petry (8-3) in a game to be televised nationally by channel 4 at 10:15 this morning.