There were too many game balls to go around in the wake of the Angels’ 10-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners Sunday at the Kingdome, as rookie Kent Anderson discovered while seeking a memento from the occasion of his first major league RBI.
“I asked the umpire for the ball and he joked with me, ‘I’d give you one, but we’re running out of them,’ ” Anderson said.
One, of course, would have to go to Bert Blyleven, who not only threw his first shutout since June of 1987, but did it indoors, often dangerous territory for the man of many home-run pitches.
Blyleven set a big-league record by allowing 50 home runs in 1986 while pitching in the Metrodome, Minnesota’s fiberglass cousin to the Kingdome. But Sunday in Seattle, Blyleven surrendered only three singles and a double to record his second consecutive four-hitter and the 36th four-hitter of his career.
It was also shutout No. 56 for Blyleven, 38, which tied him for 12th on the all-time list with Bob Gibson.
“A shutout in this place? Whew,” said Angel Manager Doug Rader. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen one here. I can’t recall ever being involved with one here.”
Here is where the Angels scored 24 runs in three days--and still went 2-1. Friday night’s final score: Mariners 9, Angels 5.
Here is also where Anderson and roommate Brian Brady both collected their first big-league RBIs in the same game. Brady, the outfielder recalled from Edmonton to replace the injured Tony Armas, doubled home a ninth-inning run in his first at-bat as an Angel, which meant the removal of another baseball from play.
Anderson, who debuted at shortstop with two singles Saturday night, beat Brady to RBI No. 1 by three innings, getting a single off the glove of Seattle second baseman Harold Reynolds to drive in Chili Davis in the sixth.
Afterward, Brady sat next to Anderson in the Angel clubhouse and proposed a toast.
And what was hoisted?
A paper cup of milk.
“It’s the only thing that’s going to settle my stomach,” Brady said, grinning. “I’m still a little too excited to eat. Too much adrenaline is still pumping.”
Anderson laughed. He nodded and said he knows the feeling.
"(Saturday) night, he was laughing at me, because I was the one who couldn’t eat after the game,” Anderson said. “Your stomach must shrink from being so excited.”
That was one way to tell the kids apart from the veterans in the Angel clubhouse. Just watch who steers clear of the post-game spread.
Entering Sunday’s game, Blyleven had been hungry, but for something else--a shutout. His appetite was whetted by his last start, in which he shut out the Oakland Athletics for eight innings, only to tire in the ninth and settle for a 7-1 victory.
Blyleven doesn’t get the chance at many shutouts any more, going 0 for 1988 in that department. As he lamented after the Oakland game, “I took a couple shutouts into the second inning last year.”
This year, after three starts, Blyleven has taken shutouts into the ninth inning of back-to-back games, finally getting it right by retiring the last seven Mariner batters he faced.
“How I did against Oakland was in the back of my mind,” Blyleven said. “I kind of felt that was the one that got away. I didn’t want to lose this one, too.”
He got this one by throwing a mere 90 pitches--he totaled 98 against Oakland--and only had two runners advance as far as second base.
Both times, that runner was either stranded or erased by a double play off the bat of Jeffrey Leonard. In the first inning, Leonard grounded into one with Reynolds on third base. In the fourth inning, a fly to center field by Leonard was turned into a double play when Alvin Davis tagged up from second base and was thrown out at third, Devon White to Mark McLemore to Jack Howell.
“I’m a pitcher. I need defense,” Blyleven said. “Devon made a great play and McLemore made a good relay to Jack Howell to take me out of an inning where (the Mariners) might’ve come back. That’s what I needed it. That pumped me up.
“After that, it was like, ‘Let’s go at it.’ ”
Blyleven also received more than a little offense as the Angels got 15 hits against four Seattle pitchers, with everyone in the lineup hitting safely except Howell.
McLemore had three hits and a two RBIs; White had a triple, a single and two RBIs; Brian Downing and Wally Joyner both had two singles, and reserve catcher Bill Schroeder had a home run and a single in four at-bats.
“We made it easy on the old guy,” Rader quipped.
In turn, Blyleven made it look about as easy as it ever gets inside the Kingdome.
“I’ve been trained at a ballpark like this,” deadpanned Blyleven, who went 10-17 with a 5.43 ERA during his final season in the Metrodome. “My style of pitching is not really conducive to the Metrodome. . . . I’d much rather pitch in Yellowstone.”
King of the Kingdome for a day, Blyleven turned this Sunday outing into a stroll through the park. And the only balls he sent out of play were the ones headed for a few Angels’ trophy cases.
Before Angel Manager Doug Rader could congratulate Brian Brady on his first major league hit, he had to apologize. When Brady was recalled from triple-A Edmonton last week, his father, Phelan Brady, was so excited, he took a few days off work and flew cross-country from Long Island, N.Y., to Anaheim in hopes of watching his son play. Brady, however, never got in a game and made his big-league debut on the road--with Phelan back in Long Island. “His dad came all the way to see him play--and I didn’t know about it,” Rader said. “I’d have gotten him in (a game) for his pop. I told him I was sorry. But I imagine this was worth waiting for.” Said Brady: “My dad beat me to the (Angels’) clubhouse when I was first called up. He was waiting for me. I’d think Doug would’ve noticed him, because he made his presence felt. But I wasn’t going to go up to him and say, ‘Hey, my dad’s in town, give me an AB.’ ” So Phelan Brady had to be content with a long-distance phone call from his son--and Rader--after Sunday’s game. “Doug got on the phone and apologized to my dad, too,” Brady said.
After last season’s washout in Minnesota, Bert Blyleven is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in three starts with the Angels. And a good start in 1989 was important, Blyleven said, after all the talk of him being finished in 1988. “It’s important to me, not anybody else,” Blyleven said. “It’s important because of all the hard work I put in over the winter, it’s important to me and my family because pitching is my livelihood. And it’s important to me to be one of the best in the game. Not the best, but at least one of them. I think I’m still capable of being in the top 10 in a few pitching categories.”