When they come at all, the Angels victories don't come easily these days.
Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays was the Angels' first in four games and their second in a week. And both of those triumphs ended the same way--with Donnie Moore pulling his aching body through an agonizing relief stint, outlasting the opposition more than overwhelming it.
Moore gave up a single and a walk in the ninth inning, and had the tying run on third base, before getting pinch-hitter Fred McGriff to hit a high fly ball to center field and clinch the decision.
That preserve the victory for DeWayne Buice (2-2), who was the pitcher of record when the Angels scraped together the go-ahead run via Mark McLemore's legs and a controversial call by first-base umpire Larry Young.
With two outs and the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of eighth inning, the Angels had Jack Howell on third and Gary Pettis on first when McLemore stepped to the plate. McLemore, who had already driven in the Angels' first run in the fourth, followed with a grounder to deep short.
Toronto shortstop Tony Fernandez gloved the ball in the hole and had to make a long throw. McLemore, hustling down the line, and the ball reached first base almost simultaneously.
Young, however, ruled that McLemore beat the throw. If he did, it was by the tip of a cleat. Television replays were inconclusive and Toronto Manager Jim Williams protested so heatedly that he earned his ejection from the game.
When McLemore beat the throw, Howell came home to break the tie.
Then, Angel Manager Gene Mauch summoned Moore and his troublesome ribs and shoulder to try and save a game Don Sutton started and Buice kept under control.
The first batter Moore faced, George Bell, reached second base. Bell singled to left-center and took second when Howell bobbled the ball in left field. Then, Howell nearly misplayed a line drive by Jesse Barfield into the game-tying hit--reaching up at the last instant to awkwardly snag the ball.
Moore walked Willie Upshaw and got Ernie Whitt to fly deep enough to right to allow Bell to tag and take third. Then came McGriff, a confrontation Moore would win, giving him his fifth save in six save opportunities.
Sutton pitched well, but to no decision, leaving tied at 1-1 after seven innings. He allowed just four singles, had one runner thrown out at the plate and was bailed out once by a double play. He was damaged by only one run, but it was an important run--and it was self-inflicted.
As he had in Monday's 12-0 Blue Jay rout, Fernandez led off the game with a single to right. Fernandez then stole second and moved to third on an infield out.
With two outs, Sutton began to pitch to Bell--and delivered one in the dirt, kicking off catcher Bob Boone's shin guard and rolling toward the Toronto dugout.
Wild pitch . . . and Fernandez crossed home plate for an early 1-0 Blue Jay lead.
Barfield led off the second inning in similar fashion, beating out an infield single to third and advancing on a grounder to first. Whitt followed with a line drive to center, a potential single that Pettis turned into a pair of outs.
Racing in, Pettis dived and gloved the ball inches off the turf. Barfield was at third base by the time Pettis scrambled to his feet to throw to second for an easy double play.
That got Sutton out of the second. He would need assistance to emerge from the third unscathed--and he received it.
Again, Kelly Gruber led off with a single. Gruber also stole second and when second baseman McLemore lost control of Boone's throw, Gruber moved all the way to third.
After a strikeout and a walk, Rance Mulliniks hit a chopper to Wally Joyner at first. Joyner gloved the ball and fired home in time to erase Gruber, trying to score on the play. Sutton then struck out Lloyd Moseby to keep the Angels' deficit at 1-0.
Offensively, the Angels extended their streak of scoreless innings to 15 before manufacturing a run against Dave Stieb in the fourth.
Devon White opened the inning with a single, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. Howell followed with a walk and White took third by tagging on a deep fly ball to center field by Doug DeCinces.
One out later, McLemore singled to center and the game was tied.
His second RBI single came harder--and not without debate. But it did come and a weary Angel team was finally able to rediscover the winning experience.
Jack Lazorko, the Angels' fourth minor league pitcher to be recalled since opening day, joined the club Tuesday just in time to meet with pitching coach Marcel Lachemann and begin preparations for his start against Toronto tonight. "I'm glad I'm starting right away," Lazorko said. "Wednesday is the day I usually pitch."