Canseco’s Two Homers Beat Angels : Andujar Pitches the A’s to 6-2 Victory Over Romanick
Two days ago, A’s Manager Jackie Moore had an idea.
Why not move this Jose Canseco kid, the rookie outfielder who reminds you of Bam-Bam, the guy nicknamed “The Natural” in the A’s press guide, up in the batting order? After all, is seventh, or even fifth, any place to put someone who wows ‘em during batting practice with shots that nearly reach the concession stands?
Of course not, so Moore decided to try Canseco in the No. 3 spot against Seattle and then against the Angels and Ron Romanick Monday evening.
Romanick wishes Moore would have waited, as do the Angels, who were victims of a 6-2 loss and two impressively hit Canseco home runs.
An Anaheim Stadium audience of 24,171 saw Canseco make his first appearance in Southern California. They left--early--talking about his two homers, his third and fourth of the season, that accounted for four of Oakland’s runs.
Alfredo Griffin contributed an RBI single, and Dwayne Murphy added a ninth-inning home run off reliever Doug Corbett that hardly mattered.
By then, the Angels had crashed and burned against A’s starter Joaquin Andujar. Andujar, who recorded his first American League victory, pitched six strong innings and allowed just three hits and one earned run before retiring to the clubhouse with a stiff right shoulder. “It’s not going to be a problem,” he said.
The performance was in marked contrast to his last effort against the Angels, an April 12 game that saw him last only four innings and give up seven runs in the process.
On Monday, the Angels managed a run in the third inning when Doug DeCinces walked with the bases loaded. Later, in the seventh inning, shortstop Dick Schofield homered to center field, about 410 feet. So much for leading the majors in hitting, an honor the Angels owned at game’s beginning.
Not that it mattered. Andujar (1-1) was strong.
Romanick (2-1) had his moments but not enough to sneak pitches past Canseco. He went seven innings and allowed nine hits and five earned runs. Not once did he set the A’s down in order. He walked three.
Perhaps a fourth walk should have been considered.
With the A’s leading, 2-1, in the top of the seventh and men on second and third, the Angels chose to pitch to Canseco rather than walk him and face designated hitter Dave Kingman. Entering the game, Canseco was 0 for 1 against Romanick. Kingman, during his career, was 1 for 22 against Romanick with 6 strikeouts.
“I know I’ve had a lot of success against Kingman, but you can’t get batters out thinking about the next batter,” Romanick said. “And you don’t want to pitch with the bases loaded.”
No matter. On a 3-and-2 pitch, Canseco deposited the ball in the right-field seats, elevating Moore to temporary genius.
And let hindsight show that after Canseco homered, Kingman meekly popped out to first base. Kingman is now 1 for 25 against Romanick.
“I pitch (Canseco) the same way as Murphy: throw him four nasty pitches,” Romanick said. “If he gets himself out, great. But I missed and he hit it out. In fact, I made two mistakes all night and both of them cost me.”
Said Canseco, who has hit three of his four home runs against Angel pitching: “Actually he didn’t give me anything to hit until the count was 3 and 2. It wasn’t a meat pitch, it was away, but I was lucky enough to make good contact.
“I asked Andujar how he would pitch me and he said, ‘I would keep the ball away.’ I’ve had a lot of success going to center and right, and I hit both of those balls well . . . I expected them to go out.”
How pleased the rest of the league will be when it finds out Canseco apparently has found a home in the No. 3 position in the lineup. No more pitching around him, willing to take chances with Griffin, who hit two home runs all last year.
“By putting me seventh, the organization was trying to take pressure off me,” Canseco said. “But I’ve hit third the last two years (in the minors), and I feel comfortable there. I think I hit well enough to stay at third.”
Said Moore, who wasn’t looking for any erasers: “I started him out in seventh, let him ease into the league, all with the idea of eventually putting him up there. I’d like to leave him there. He’ll see a lot more fastballs. They can’t pitch around him with Kingman.”
It didn’t hurt that Romanick wasn’t as sharp as he was April 16, when he pitched a two-hit shutout against the Seattle Mariners.
“When I missed with my pitches tonight, I didn’t get any breaks,” he said. “But I did think I threw fairly well.”
Maybe, but the evening didn’t begin particularly well for Romanick, who entered the game with a 1.80 earned-run average, lowest among the Angel starters. He walked the second batter he faced, Murphy, and, after Canseco forced Murphy at second, he proceeded to walk Kingman. But Romanick wiggled out of trouble as Mike Davis grounded to second to end the inning.
An inning later, he was at it again, tempting the bottom of the A’s lineup to score. Third baseman Carney Lansford singled to right. Bruce Bochte followed with a line drive to the far right-field corner. As Bochte lurched to second base, Ruppert Jones retrieved the ball on a carom from the wall and made a perfect throw to shortstop Schofield.
Bochte went quietly, but Lansford moved to third.
With one out, Manager Gene Mauch moved his infielders on the grass, hoping to prevent an early run. Griffin, who entered the game hitting .370, would have none of that and promptly singled to center to score Lansford and give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Catcher Bill Bathe ended the inning by grounding into a double play.
The A’s added another run in third when Canseco homered.
The game remained quiet until the seventh, when Canseco muscled Romanick’s pitch to right. That makes 14 RBIs, nine against the Angels.
Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, a former Angel draft pick, attended Monday night’s game. Jackson and his agent, Richard Woods, were in the Los Angeles area to discuss possible endorsement contracts. Jackson has yet to decide which sport he will choose: baseball or football. He said he’ll wait until June 11, the day after the baseball free-agent draft to make up his mind. “It’s 50-50,” he said. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first pick in the June 10 draft (the Angels pick 16th). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the first choice in the NFL draft, and they say they want Jackson. How will he decide what to do? “My heart,” he said. . . . Pitcher John Candelaria, who underwent surgery on his left elbow last Wednesday, will be examined by Angel team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum “in two days or so,” General Manager Mike Port said. “That will be just to check and see how the healing process is going.” . . . Second baseman Bobby Grich, who is nursing an injured thumb on his right hand, took batting practice for the first time in two days. Though there is less swelling and pain, Grich said: “It’s just still not there. All I could do was meet the ball, guide it. I couldn’t pull anything.” Grich said he was hoping to play today, but now says he’ll try to be ready for Saturday’s game in Minnesota against left-hander Frank Viola. “Today, it actually felt a lot better,” he said. “At least I’m getting some strength back.” . . . Catcher Bob Boone was back in the lineup after a two-day absence. He played with his right ankle in an inflatable cast.