The Chicago White Sox arrived in Anaheim Monday night and immediately attempted to fill a void created by the departure of the generous Cleveland Indians.
Five Chicago pitchers doled out a total of 10 walks. The White Sox defense made a costly error, contributing to a pair of unearned runs.
This time, however, the Angels left 12 runners on base and were outhit, 13-7. They were also outscored, 6-5, before an Anaheim Stadium crowd of 22,802.
The end of a five-game winning streak in which the Angels averaged 8.4 runs reduced their lead over the idle Kansas City Royals to a half-game.
It also left them with the task of regaining their momentum against Tom Seaver, who pitches tonight for Chicago, and left-hander Britt Burns, an 18-game winner who goes Wednesday night.
Don Sutton, who had allowed only three runs in defeating Texas and Chicago in his first two starts for the Angels, drew his ninth loss against 15 wins, yielding a solo homer to Harold Baines in the first and a three-run homer to Luis Salazar in the third.
Baines, who has 21 homers, 108 runs batted in and a .317 batting average, doubled and scored off Sutton in the fifth, then singled off Al Holland to drive in the sixth and decisive run in the seventh.
Baines is batting .326 (14 for 43) with 9 RBIs in 11 games against the Angels this year.
His single off Holland after catcher Joel Skinner had opened the seventh with a double off Sutton characterized the problems left-hander Holland has had against left-handed hitters in key situations.
General Manager Mike Port has been scouring the trade market for a proven left-handed relief pitcher.
Manager Gene Mauch had another idea--at least where Baines is concerned.
“I guess I’ve got to walk Baines every time he comes to bat or get a pistol and shoot him,” Mauch said.
The Angels got a solo homer by Doug DeCinces in the second but never led after Baines homered with two out in the first.
They ultimately stranded their last runner in the ninth, which DeCinces opened with a single.
A sacrifice by Rob Wilfong put pinch-runner Devon White on second, but Bob James then got Bobby Grich on a fly to right before striking out Bob Boone, ending the game.
James, who pitched 3 innings at Oakland Sunday and has pitched in three straight games, gained his 29th save, one shy of the club record set by Ed Farmer in 1980.
“I never expected to see James tonight,” Mauch said, “but he’s been a horse for them.”
James worked the ninth, following Juan Agosto, Dan Spillner and Jerry Don Gleaton out of a beleaguered Chicago bullpen. Starter Gene Nelson went 5 innings to qualify for his 10th save against 10 defeats.
“We had a chance to score a lot of runs,” Mauch said. “We got a few with six hits (seven, actually). There’s no telling how many we’d have scored with a couple more.”
The Angels wasted two walks in the second, two more in the fifth and left the bases loaded in the seventh, when Craig Gerber grounded out to end an inning in which three walks, a throwing error by third baseman Tim Hulett and single by Rufino Linares produced two unearned runs, cutting a three-run deficit to the final one.
The Angels wasted a two-out walk to Brian Downing in the eighth and the single by DeCinces in the ninth. The homer by DeCinces in the second was his 17th. He has homered in each of the last three games and has hit four in the last eight.
Grich singled in a run in the fourth and Boone doubled in another in the sixth as the Angels made a futile attempt to keep pace with Baines and the White Sox, although it was Salazar who delivered the crusher with his 10th homer, giving Chicago a 4-1 lead.
“I’m sure Sutton would give up his Bentley to get the pitch he threw Salazar back,” Mauch said.
“I’d give up the Ford but not the Bentley. I wanted the pitch inside, but got it out over the plate too much. We should win with five runs, but I didn’t do my job.”
“I get paid for 162 games,” he said, “so I go out and play like hell. We’ve still got a shot at it.”
The White Sox are 7 1/2 games back and still alive--unless Mauch finds a pistol.
Channel 5 will televise all four games at Kansas City next week, as well as the next three next games at Texas, providing the race is still alive. Bob Starr, who suffered a mild heart attack while traveling with the Angels in New York recently, will rejoin broadcasting partner Joe Torre in Kansas City . . . Manager Gene Mauch said Mike Witt, bombarded by Cleveland during a three-inning stint as the Angels’ starter Sunday, had no problem with the recurring tendinitis in his shoulder and will start as scheduled Friday night at Cleveland. “His arm felt fine,” Mauch said. “His location wasn’t good.” . . . Witt is a key. He is scheduled to pitch the third of the four games at Kansas City and might have to come back on three days rest to pitch the regular-season finale in Texas . . . John Candelaria (6-1) faces Tom Seaver (13-11) tonight.