Angels Fall Victim to Oriole Snell Game

Times Staff Writer

Breaks have been rare for the Angels during this lost month of May, but Manager Gene Mauch must have figured his team finally stumbled upon one in the top of the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles Friday night.

Mike Flanagan, Baltimore’s starting pitcher, had worked two innings of one-hit ball but wasn’t coming out for a third. The diagnosis: Tightness in his left elbow.

What’s this? A pitching injury that didn’t send the Angel trainers scurrying? A left-handed pitcher, one of that dreaded species, sent to the locker room for the evening?


At last, the slumping Angels sensed they were handed a shred of good fortune.


Flanagan’s departure brought on right-handed reliever Nate Snell, who promptly brought on the Angels’ third straight defeat. Snell pitched six innings of three-hit baseball as the Orioles shut out the Angels, 3-0, in front of an Anaheim Stadium crowd of 47,587.

Snell allowed only singles to Reggie Jackson, Wally Joyner and George Hendrick while striking out three. He held the Angels at bay until the ninth inning, when Tippy Martinez and Don Aase could put the finishing touches on Baltimore’s 16th victory in its last 19 games.

Meanwhile, the Angels continue to streak in the opposite direction. Friday’s loss was their eighth in nine games and their 10th in 13 outings. Coupled with Kansas City’s 12-2 victory over the first-place Texas Rangers, the Angels slipped behind the Royals into third place in the American League West.

These are what are known as bad times. Everybody knows the Angels don’t beat left-handers; they are 3-12 against them this season. But, now, right-handed long relievers give them fits.

And they lose games on three sacrifice flies.

The Orioles scored each of their runs on outs. Eddie Murray drove in two with fly balls in the sixth and eighth innings. Lee Lacy added another on a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

That was enough to make a loser of Ron Romanick (3-2), who allowed 10 singles and a double in 8 innings.

“You don’t usually lose a game on sacrifice flies,” Romanick said. “Anybody who doesn’t believe this is not a game of inches is crazy. I threw the ball the best I could. They didn’t exactly batter me around the ballpark.”

Romanick held the hammer and tongs of the Orioles’ attack--Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken--hitless in eight plate appearances.

“I don’t think you’re going to see Baltimore get many runs without Murray and Ripken getting any hits,” Romanick said.

But three runs were more than enough Friday.

Angel Notes With Doug DeCinces ailing and Darrell Miller slumping, the Angels announced after Friday’s game that they were demoting Miller to Edmonton and recalling third baseman Jack Howell. DeCinces has played the last two weeks with a partially dislocated left shoulder, which may better explain his 7-for-46 slump. DeCinces injured the shoulder while diving for a groundball against the Boston Red Sox during the last home stand. A right-hander, DeCinces has still been able to play in the field with the injury, but it has affected him at the plate. “It’s a ‘football shoulder,’ ” Angel Manager Gene Mauch said. “He opened up that joint a bit. The pain comes and goes. Sometimes when he swings, it doesn’t hurt. But then he’ll take an awkward swing at something bad and he’ll flinch a little.” Said DeCinces: “This is just what I need, along with everything wrong with my back.” Howell batted .359 in 44 games with Edmonton, leading the Trappers in runs (39), total bases (88), doubles (17) and triples (3), in addition to 28 RBIs. Miller batted .209 with three RBIs in 23 games for the Angels.