Angel Mistakes Make Things Easy for Red Sox in 10-2 Win
The Boston Red Sox manage quite nicely on their own at Fenway Park--they won 24 straight games here earlier this summer--but as they well remember from the fall of ’86, a little help from the Angels always helps.
The team that escorted the Red Sox into the 1986 World Series is back in Boston, ready to jump-start another New England pennant drive. And Tuesday night, be it pitching or catching or outfield defense, the Angels attended to every Red Sox need in a 10-2 loss before 34,313 at Fenway Park.
The anatomy of a giveaway:
--Pitching: Chuck Finley threw away a 2-0 Angel lead by serving up Jim Rice’s 10th home run, followed by two walks and two more hits in a three-run fifth inning. Then, Greg Minton misplayed a sacrifice bunt into a three-run sixth inning. And then, Stewart Cliburn gave up a three-run home run to Rich Gedman in a three-run seventh inning.
--Catching: Darrell Miller prolonged the sixth inning, and handed Boston another run, by failing to catch Minton’s third-strike pitch to Dwight Evans. Along with the passed ball, Miller went 0 for 3 at the plate, which means he has 2 hits in his last 37 at-bats (.054).
--Outfield defense: Angel Manager Cookie Rojas’ left-field platoon of Tony Armas and Thad Bosley were all thumbs as both mishandled fly balls in back-to-back innings, leading directly to four Red Sox runs.
Yeah, the Angels didn’t hit much, either.
One Angel run came on a bunt single by Devon White, a stolen base and an error. The other came on a double by Chili Davis and a triple by Jack Howell.
Aside from that, the Angels totaled four hits against Mike Boddicker (10-14) and reliever Tom Bolton.
In the process, the Angels lost for the second time in as many days in Boston, helping the Red Sox pull to within 2 games of the Detroit Tigers in the American League East Standings.
“Not too good of a night,” was Rojas’ modest assessment. “We strike a guy out--and then we can’t catch the ball. A ball goes through the left fielder. We messed up a sacrifice . . .
“Once we got those two early runs, it seemed like everything was going to be all right. But then, a good night turned into . . . not too good a night.”
The collapse began in the fifth inning with Finley pitching to Rice. Rice was hitless in his previous 17 at-bats, striking out 9 times.
This time, he sent the ball into the screen above the left-field wall to make it Angels 2, Red Sox 1.
Then came a walk to Jody Reed, a sacrifice bunt and a fly ball down the left-field line by Boggs. Armas raced toward the line, then noticed the bleacher wall staring him in the face, and he pulled up. The ball glanced off his glove, Boggs was credited with a double and Boston had taken a 3-2 lead.
Finley also walked Dwight Evans before yielding a bloop single to Mike Greenwell. That hit scored Boggs from third and established Greenwell as the first player in either league to drive in 100 runs this season.
“That was my 100th pitch,” Finley said, “and his 100th RBI. Somebody ought to look into that.”
Minton replaced Finley after that pitch and opened the sixth inning by walking Rice. Reed followed with a sacrifice bunt, which Minton fielded and threw too late to second.
One out later, Boggs hit a one-hopper to Bosley in left field that Bosley let get away and roll to the wall. Two more runs scored.
One out later, Boggs was at third base and Evans swung at a third strike. But Miller couldn’t hold the ball. The ball skipped to the backstop and Boggs scored, turning the game into a runaway.
“If baseball games were seven innings long, I’d think I’d be 20-5,” lamented Finley, who is 7-12 in the nine-inning kind. “I can breeze through six innings with the best of them, but something seems to happen and I break down after that.”
Tuesday night, Finley wasn’t alone. There were Angel breakdowns all over the place, and after tonight, their last scheduled game at Fenway in 1988, they’ll probably break down the doors just to get out of the place.
Warning--Rat Crossing: Play was interrupted between the second and third innings Tuesday night when a large brown rat found its way out of the Angel bullpen onto the outfield and had to be chased off the field by Fenway Park groundskeepers. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the rat got chased into the Boston dugout, causing players to scramble while the rodent skittered down the runaway to find an escape through a crack in the wall. “I’ve shot squirrels smaller than that rat,” Angel pitcher Greg Minton said. “(Bullpen catcher) Rick Ragazzo, the esteemed rat-chaser, flushed it out with the end of a broom and it ran straight into our bullpen. Rick jumped 3 1/2 feet in the air. That was one of the all-time world’s biggest rats.”
More bullpen high jinks were provided by Boston reliever Mike Smithson, who leaped from his seat and made a running catch of Rich Gedman’s seventh-inning home run. Then, Smithson, milking the moment, spiked the ball over his right shoulder. Quipped Minton: “Shouldn’t that be a 15-yard penalty--showing up the opponent after a touchdown?” . . . Further examination of Kirk McCaskill’s medical test results indicated “no further nerve damage” other than the initial radial-nerve irritation, according to Dr. Lewis Yocum. McCaskill will remain on oral medication and remain at home until the Angels return to Anaheim. No timetable has been set for McCaskill’s rehabilitative program.