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Angels Get Past Orioles in 15 Innings

Times Staff Writer

The Angels scored four runs on six hits in the first inning Tuesday night.

Another would-be laugher ultimately turned to drama, but the Angels survived this time, beating the Orioles, 6-5, in 15 innings.

The end came 20 minutes before the American League’s 1 a.m. curfew. The 5-hour 4-minute struggle was the league’s longest of the season, eclipsing by 18 minutes an April 30 game between the Angels and Boston Red Sox at Anaheim.

Stewart Cliburn, who pitched four shutout innings to earn a 3-2 win in that one, pitched 5 shutout innings to win this one. He is 2-1 while the Angels are 4-0 in extra innings and 12-4 in games decided by one run.

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Storm Davis, who had allowed those four runs in the first, combined with Don Aase, Sammy Stewart and Tippy Martinez to restrict the Angels to four hits and one run over the next 13 innings.

Ken Dixon, who had pitched three innings as Monday night’s starter and loser, was summoned to pitch the 15th and got two quick outs.

Then Ruppert Jones walked, stole second and scored on Mike Brown’s single to center, rewarding the Angels’ perseverance and Cliburn’s tenacity.

The latter, recalled in April when Luis Sanchez went on the disabled list, has allowed only one run in the 19 innings of his last nine appearances.

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This one became necessary when Pat Clements, who has been comparably effective, bailed out Doug Corbett in the seventh, pitched a hitless eighth and then yielded a two-out, two-run double to Eddie Murray in the ninth, producing the extra innings.

It was the second straight game in which the Angels had failed to protect a 5-3 lead in the ninth and it might have been the third straight they had lost after establishing an early lead.

Devastating?

“Of course,” Manager Gene Mauch said, “but they wouldn’t let it happen.

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“Those two kid pitchers (Clements and Cliburn) have got the guts of government mules.”

Said Cliburn, who faced at least one baserunner in every inning: “I didn’t have an easy one but I wanted to keep going out there as long as I was throwing strikes and feeling good. I kept saying, ‘God, can’t I have just one quick one?”

The Angels had prayers answered in other ways as Mauch employed all 15 of his nonpitchers, including Bobby Grich, who was expected to miss the last two games against the Orioles because of a strained shoulder.

--Gary Pettis, again covering more ground than a distance runner, made 12 catches to tie a league record shared by eight other center fielders.

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--Reggie Jackson drove in two runs with a double and single to give him a career RBI total of 1,537 to tie Joe DiMaggio for 23rd place on the all-time list. Jackson, who missed six straight games with a hamstring strain, had not driven in a run since May 11, a span of 35 at-bats in which he had 10 hits.

--The Angels kept digging out of trouble by negotiating four double plays, increasing their major league leading total to 73.

Mauch also emerged with a concern.

“I’m worried about Doug,” he said, alluding to third baseman DeCinces, who went the distance just one night after coming off the disabled list. He had been sidelined for three weeks with back spasms, and seemed to aggravate the condition when he slid hard in a vain attempt to score on a pitch the bounced a few feet away from Floyd Rayford in the 14th inning.

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“I’m damned if I’ll play him if he’s going to end up permanently hurt,” Mauch said. “I’m just not sure he’s going to be able to go the route, but I’ll know more tomorrow.”

DeCinces acknowledged that he was spent by the end of this one but said: “tomorrow is another day. We’ll take it from there. If I can go 15 innings after missing three weeks, that’s a good test in itself.”

In the beginning, it appeared that Davis would not survive the first.

A two-strike bunt single by Pettis, a single by Juan Beniquez and the Jackson double produced the first run. Daryl Sconiers’ single drove in two more. A single by DeCinces and another by Bob Boone, who has hit in eight straight games and 18 of his last 22, made it 4-0.

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It was the Angels’ last hurrah against Davis, who retired 15 in a row and did not allow another hit in the six innings he worked.

The Angels got a fifth run off former teammate Aase in the eighth on a Jackson single following a single by Beniquez and walk to Ruppert Jones.

Ron Romanick started for the Angels and allowed nine hits in 5 innings. It wasn’t his best, but he deserved better.

A Boone throwing error, a Larry Sheets’ single, a walk and a Lee Lacy single, produced an unearned run in the second.

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Consecutive singles by Murray, Fred Lynn and Sheets produced a second run in the third and set the stage for a strange play that gave the Orioles yet another run.

The bases were loaded with one out when pinch-hitter Joe Nolan grounded to first baseman Beniquez, who stepped on the bag for the second out, then threw home for what would have required a tag play. The throw was wild, however, and Lynn scored easily. Sheets would have, too, except that the ball caromed off a railing behind the plate and back toward Boone. His scrambling toss to Romanick, covering the plate, nailed Sheets for the third out.

It was 4-3 en route to 5-3 and just the start of another long night for the Angels.

Angel Notes

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Brian Downing, batting .224 and hitless in his last 17 at-bats, was out of the Angel starting lineup for the fifth straight game. Downing pinch hit in 14th inning and flied out. . . . Rick Dempsey threw out Gary Pettis attempting to steal second in the ninth inning, leaving Pettis 25 for 27 on steal attempts this year. . . . Ken Forsch will have arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow today. Forsch, who has not pitched a league game since dislocating his right shoulder in April, 1984, will miss three to six more weeks, depending on the success of the surgery. . . . Baltimore pitcher Mike Flanagan, who ruptured an Achilles’ tendon playing basketball Jan. 23, ran for the first time Tuesday and is expected to rejoin the rotation in July. . . . The Angels’ Kirk McCaskill (0-3) faces Dennis Martinez (4-3) tonight.


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