Moore Less; Angels Lose
The pregame meeting was said to be the loudest and angriest in the six-plus years Sparky Anderson has managed the Tigers.
He accused the struggling world champions of swallowing their pride, of looking for excuses, of letting down mentally to the point of failing to take advantage of opportunities handed to them.
“I’ll put up with a lot of things, but I want it clear that I still run the house,” Anderson said when the meeting was over.
“They don’t pay me to hit, run and throw, but they do pay me to keep the house in order.”
The Tigers defeated the Angels, 4-3, Sunday, but it didn’t seem to be a response to Sparky’s rhetoric as much as the percentages, the law of inevitability, catching up with California relief ace Donnie Moore.
The Angels held a 3-2 lead in the eighth when Moore first hung a slider that Lance Parrish deposited in the left-field seats for his eighth home run, tying the game.
Then, on his third pitch in the ninth, Moore hung a changeup to Darrell Evans, who drilled it into the right-field seats for his ninth home run, ending a three-game Detroit losing streak and depriving the Angels of their first sweep at Tiger Stadium since 1970.
Moore, who had allowed two runs and drawn the loss in his first appearance as an Angel on April 10, had allowed only one earned run in the 29 innings of his next 18 appearances, saving 11 and winning 3.
The Sunday loss reduced the Angels’ lead over Chicago in the American League West to 1 1/2 games, but Moore, who had pitched 2 shutout innings to save Friday night’s game, offered no excuses, displaying his normal equanimity.
“Frustrated?” he said, rhetorically. “No. It’s part of the game. I know that sooner or later I’m going to go out there without my best stuff and get beat. I have no excuses. I didn’t have a bad arm, I just couldn’t get my pitches down.
“Everything was up and you can’t pitch that way, especially in this park, especially against good hitters. Give the Tigers credit. I’ve gone out there with worse stuff against lesser teams and gotten away with it.”
Moore sat at his locker and said there may have been a plus to it. He said he may have been feeling the pressure of his long success string.
“Maybe I can relax a little and start a new streak,” he said. “I hope I can go another 13 or 14 times and then have a bad one. I’ve just got to try and keep the ball in the park. Gary Pettis can’t catch ‘em when they’re in the second deck.”
The home runs were the first Moore has allowed in 33 innings. Manager Gene Mauch weighed the inevitability and said:
“We beat their best (Willie Hernandez) out there (Anaheim), and they beat our best here. It’s going to happen.
“My only frustration comes from the fact that I thought we’d put the game in the refrigerator in the fifth inning, but it didn’t work that way.”
Randy O’Neal, activated Saturday after being recalled from Nashville, shut out the Angels until the fourth when Ruppert Jones singled, stole second, continued to third on a throwing error by catcher Bob Melvin and scored on a fly to right by Daryl Sconiers, his first RBI.
The Angels were trailing 2-1 but came back to tie 2-2 in the fifth on an RBI single by Pettis. They ultimately loaded the bases with no outs only to have left-hander Bill Scherrer strike out Jones and Reggie Jackson, after which right-hander Doug Bair was summoned to strike out Juan Beniquez.
Bobby Grich broke the tie with his fourth home run in the sixth, but the Angels had wasted their last real threat. Hernandez (4-1), who relieved Aurelio Lopez in the ninth, ultimately gained the win, which at one point was going to be Tommy John’s 258th.
“I was racking it up,” John said. “I had the champagne uncorked. But Donnie has pitched so well that I’m confident he’ll help me out again.”
John, shuttling between the rotation and the bullpen, had not started since May 18 and had pitched only 7 innings in the last 19 days.
The rust showed as John allowed two runs in the first, struck out Larry Herndon and Alex Sanchez to end an inning that might have buried the Angels right there, then shut out the Tigers through the sixth, his final frame.
John, who has said it is difficult to prepare in his irregular role, knew six or seven innings “would be the max because I haven’t pitched that much. I think I did a pretty good job and I want to thank Gene (Mauch) for the opportunity. I mean, as infrequently as I’ve pitched, he still has the confidence to give me a chance once in awhile to have some fun.”
It has not been fun for the Tigers, tired of the comparisons to their meteoric start of last year and ready to blame their 1985 struggles on the high grass at Tiger Stadium, the booing fans, the critical media.
Anderson had heard enough.
“When things go bad it’s easy to blame somebody else,” he said. “I’ve taken a lot of whippings and I’ve never known them to be anybody’s fault except your own. We had no problems with the fans or the grass last year.
“The bottom line is that this group has been playing as badly as they’ve ever played. They’ve been terrible. They’ve stunk.
“They’ve got to shake themselves now and see how much pride they have.”
It won’t be easy. They trail Toronto by five games in the East.
Angel Notes The Angels’ acquisition of former Montreal right-hander Steve Rogers should be consummated today, a source close to the negotiations between General Manager Mike Port and attorney Dick Moss said. Port and Moss talked Sunday morning and had only a couple of details to be worked out, the source said. Rogers is expected to accept a temporary Edmonton assignment. . . . There was a flawless performance by fans in the center-field bleachers, which were reopened Sunday after being closed since May 4 because of the chanting of obscenities. . . . Third baseman Doug DeCinces asked Manager Gene Mauch to play him Sunday but he remained on the disabled list. “He’s geared to play, but I still think he’s hitting and fielding in a controlled fashion (because of his back spasms) and I want him reckless,” Mauch said. “He worked hard today. If he wakes up tomorrow feeling as good as he did today then he’ll be on the list tomorrow night.” . . . Mauch said it was not predictable who would be moved to make room for DeCinces. It now appears that the Angels are trying to choose between Jack Howell, who had two hits Sunday and is 6 for 38 since being recalled to replace DeCinces, and Daryl Sconiers, 1 for 8 since returning from his rehabilitation assignment at Midland. Sconiers, in addition to his sacrifice fly Sunday, doubled in his first at-bat.