Angels Lose the Battle of 9th-Inning Rallies, 3-2, to White, Royals
It went just the way Frank White hoped it wouldn’t in the ninth inning Tuesday night, but the Kansas City Royals still came away with a 3-2 victory over the Angels.
With the bases loaded and one out in the ninth, White hit a pitch from Angel reliever Greg Minton on the ground. But it bounced through the middle of the infield and into center field, scoring two runs.
“I was trying hard not to hit a ground ball, but I hit one anyway,” White said with a grin. “In that situation, you want to drive the ball to the outfield, hit something you can get under, and avoid the double play at all costs.”
The Angels, stymied all night by Mark Gubicza, broke through for two runs in the top of the ninth on a bases-loaded single by rookie Brian Dorsett.
“That was exciting baseball any way you look at it,” Angel Manager Cookie Rojas said. “We kept the people in their seats tonight. It was a good, well-pitched game.”
Minton (3-4) relieved Terry Clark starting the ninth after Clark had given up just five hits.
“Clark and Gubicza both pitched great,” said California’s Wally Joyner, whose two-out single helped key the California rally in the top of the ninth. “This is what baseball is all about.”
After the Angels had scored twice in the top of the ninth to go ahead, the Royals loaded the bases on a single by George Brett, a double by Willie Wilson and an intentional walk to Bill Buckner. White followed with his game-winning hit.
The winner, with one-third of an inning of relief, was Steve Farr (5-2).
Jim Eppard began California’s ninth-inning rally with an infield single and then pinch-runner Domingo Ramos went to third on Joyner’s single. After pinch-hitter George Hendrick walked, Dorsett--in only his third at-bat this season--flared a single off Gubicza into right field.
Gubicza had handcuffed California on three hits, all by Brian Downing, entering the ninth. Gubicza struck out seven and walked three.
Kansas City’s first run came in the third inning. Bo Jackson hit a pop fly over first baseman Joyner and made it to third standing up as the ball fell barely fair and then bounced into foul territory. Jackson raced home on Jamie Quirk’s fly ball to shallow left field.
California’s Chili Davis underscored the frustration Angel batters were feeling against Gubicza when he struck out swinging in the sixth. With a glare toward the mound, Davis broke his bat over his knee and then stalked away.
A great play by second baseman White prevented the Angels from tying the game in the sixth. Downing doubled and went to third on an infield out. Then Eppard hit a hard ground shot between second and first which White dived full-length to spear. Downing didn’t even try to score on the play, and then Gubicza struck out Joyner to end the inning.
Clark said he thought he threw the ball well.
“Not walking anyone was a big plus for me,” he said. “I knew Gubicza had been throwing the hell out of the ball the last month. I knew that if I gave up two, three runs I probably would have no chance.”
Minton lamented his inability to protect the Angel lead in the ninth.
“I don’t get too many chances for a save. Someone’s got to pick up Harv (Bryan Harvey) once in a while. That’s the second one in a row I’ve blown, and I’m not too happy about that,” Minton said.
Clark was just as disappointed as Minton.
“Ten out of 12 times, I’d like to see Moonie out there trying to save a win for me. He’s done a great job. You can’t go by one outing,” Clark said.
On his first three hits off Gubicza, Downing said: “I always get up a little more against the top right-handed starters. I know I’ll have to battle hard. In the ninth (when he struck out), I tried to just meet the ball and get on base, but I had some sick swings.”
The loss was the Angels’ first in Kansas City in five games.
Darrell Miller and Jack Howell both made their debuts in center field in the eighth and ninth innings. Devon White’s side was too sore to play and right-fielder Chili Davis, who has played there frequently the last week, was inhibited by a sore ankle.