Balboni Hits Two Homers; Royals Win : Angels Shut Out in Consecutive Games for First Time Since ’83
A little number called “Dueling Slumps” was played out Friday night at Anaheim Stadium, with Kansas City’s Steve Balboni and the entire cast of Angel hitters as the principals. Balboni broke out of his doldrums, the Angels didn’t.
Balboni snapped the longest homerless streak as a Royal--15 games--by hitting home runs Nos. 9 and 10 of 1985 and powering the Royals to a 6-0 victory over the Angels before a crowd of 29,414.
Meanwhile, the Angels’ season-long batting drought got a little drier, as they were shut out for the second time is as many games.
That hasn’t happened to an Angel team since August of 1983, when the Milwaukee Brewers blanked the Angels in back-to-back games.
Of course, this one didn’t exactly come as any surprise. The man who pitched the first seven innings for the Royals Friday, Bret Saberhagen, has started three games against the Angels during his young career--and has yet to yield a run.
Saberhagen (6-3) beat the Angels, 10-0 and 4-0, last year. He has yielded them one run in relief, but as a starter, Saberhagen’s scoreless-innings streak against the Angels is 22.
With the victory, the Royals pulled to within a half-game of the first-place Angels in the American League West standings.
Balboni’s successive home runs in the fourth and sixth innings helped turn a tentative 1-0 lead into a 5-0 feast for Saberhagen.
The Royals had scored their first run in the third inning on a single by Frank White, a ground-out and a single up the middle by the ninth batter in their lineup, .186-hitting Onix Concepcion.
That began a string of four straight innings in which the Royals scored. By the time they were through, so was Angels starter Mike Witt, who allowed nine hits in six innings as his disappointing record dropped to an even more disappointing 3-6.
Jorge Orta got things started in the fourth inning, chopping a grounder to shortstop and reaching first base when Dick Schofield’s running, off-balance throw was a shade late.
Then Balboni delivered his first home run of the night--and his first in more than two weeks. It was his ninth of the season. His eighth came May 18 against Milwaukee.
Next inning, another Kansas City run. This one was produced by Lonnie Smith, who singled, stole second and scored on a single by Orta.
George Brett, who was walked intentionally in between those two hits, was tagged for the final out when he came up limping into third base. Brett pulled a hamstring on the play and did not return to the game.
Balboni then delivered his second home run of the night, depositing a Witt offering over the left-center field fence, for a 5-0 Kansas City advantage. He later singled in the eighth off Angel reliver Rafael Lugo, giving him three hits in his four at bats.
The Royals scored their final run on their third home run of the night, this provided by White, who led off the ninth inning with his eighth homer of the year.
Angel Notes Rod Carew, eligible to return from the disabled list, tested his right foot in the batting cage Friday for the first time in two weeks. “It went all right,” Carew said. “There’s still a little soreness, but I can swing on it without favoring it.” Carew said he’s still not 100% running the bases. “I can run straight ahead, but it still bothers me when I’m making turns on the bases.” Carew has yet to be activated, but said he hopes to return to the lineup “in a couple days--and not as a pinch-hitter. I want to play. It’s been frustrating sitting.” . . . The Angels postponed a scheduled strike vote Friday when a team meeting with Donald Fehr, the executive director of the Players Assn., ran longer than expected. The vote will be taken sometime this weekend. . . . Brian Downing went 0 for 4, extending his hitless streak to 25 at bats. He is now batting .213. . . . Angel scouting director Larry Himes on the team’s top three selections--all pitchers--in this week’s draft: Bill Fraser (first round, Concordia College)--"Has an opportunity to be a front-line starter, maybe even No. 1 or 2. Has an exceptional split-fingered fastball with an above-average fastball and average slider.”; Mike Cook (first round, University of South Carolina)--"Could be an exciting and durable pitcher. A power pitcher who serves up a lot of ground balls with a good sinker and slider.”; Bob Sharpnack (second round, Fountain Valley High)--"A power pitcher who deserves to be here not simply because he’s local, but because of the promising future he has. We were fortunate to have Bob available as far down as were were. I felt he’d be selected in the low first round.” Sharpnack, ranked as the nation’s 15th-best prospect by Baseball America, was in attendance at Friday’s game.