Angels Slug Out Another Indoor Win Over Twins
It’s been said that you can’t carry offensive momentum from game to game, but for the third night in a row, the Angels failed to notice when batting practice ended and the game began.
Led by left fielder Chili Davis with two prodigious homers, the Angels pounded the Twins into submission again Saturday night before a crowd of 28,682 at the Metrodome. The final score was 6-1, but with three home runs, a 410-foot triple and three fly-ball outs that put Twin outfielders against the wall, it seemed like more of a rout.
The Angels scored in every inning except the third, eighth and ninth. Tony Armas hit his second home run in as many nights; Devon White had two runs batted in and that triple off the top of the center-field fence, and Wally Joyner chipped in with three singles and an RBI.
For the fifth time in his career, Davis had home runs as both a left-handed and right-handed hitter in the same game. Mickey Mantle, the all-time leader, did it 10 times. Davis came a foot or so short of having his first three-homer game when he sent center fielder Kirby Puckett to the wall to snag his drive in the second inning.
“It was nice, but it would’ve been nicer to see that first one go over too,” Davis said. “Hitters are greedy. You’re always thinking about the one that got away. You never seem to have a good enough night.”
On this evening, however, Davis was good enough to propel the Angels to their seventh victory in eight games, keeping them just a half-game behind the American League West-leading Oakland Athletics.
“They pay me a whole lot of money to do that,” Davis said. “They don’t pay me to steal bases and they don’t pay me to play awesome defense, ‘cause I don’t. I’ve got one stolen base and zero triples. I’ve got to drive in runs and hit the ball out of the park.”
Davis, who has six hits in his last 11 at-bats with five RBIs, leads the team in homers with 11 and RBIs with 40 but isn’t satisfied with his performance of late.
“Some guys say you’ve got to have fun in this game, but there ain’t no fun unless you’re doing well,” Davis said. “I’ve been waking up mad and I smile only when something is really funny. I just stay angry inside and try to take it up to the batter’s box with me.”
Davis did manage a grin or two after this one, as did Angel starter Kirk McCaskill. But McCaskill (9-4) seemed to be smiling more out of relief than anything else. He lowered his earned-run average to 2.86, but he almost didn’t make it out of the first inning.
The first four Twin batters got hits--although none were as awe-inspiring as many of the Angel outs on this evening--but McCaskill squirmed out of the inning with just a one-run deficit.
Randy Bush led off with a sharp single to right field. Wally Backman followed with a bunt single. Puckett blooped a single to center to load the bases. Then Kent Hrbek dumped a run-scoring flare into right.
But McCaskill regrouped and struck out Gary Gaetti before getting designated hitter Jim Dwyer to hit one back to the pitcher. McCaskill threw to catcher Lance Parrish, who fired to first to complete the double play.
The Twins collected six more hits after that but didn’t push a runner as far as third base until the ninth, when Bryan Harvey was on the mound.
“Actually, I made some pretty good pitches in the first,” McCaskill said. “I tried not to panic, figuring if I kept making pretty good pitches, something good might happen . . . and it did.
“You try hard not to think, ‘Oh no, it’s going to be one of those days,’ but it’s important not to. Today, I managed to keep pretty level-headed, and it paid off. We kept notching runs, and that allowed me to relax.”
McCaskill is one of three Angel pitchers--along with Chuck Finley (9-6) and Bert Blyleven (7-2)--who merit All-Star consideration, but McCaskill says he “doesn’t deserve” to make the team.
“I got off to a good start, but I haven’t pitched that well recently,” he said. “I think Chuck and Bert deserve it more, not necessarily in that order. In my opinion, those are the two guys to choose from. It’d be an honor to make it someday, but I don’t think I have a chance.”
Angel Manager Doug Rader said he hopes that “at least one pitcher and one player” from his team will be on the American League squad in the All-Star game at Anaheim Stadium July 11, but just about everybody with a halo on his cap seems more concerned with staying on the heels of the Athletics these days.
“The important thing is we won and kept pace with Oakland,” Davis said. “I hope somebody beats them and gives us some help. I’d hate for it to be just up to us. I’d like us to be like a good distance-runner: Get ahead and never look back.”
A few more games under the Metrodome wouldn’t hurt the Angels. They used to think of this ballpark as the not-so-great indoors, but they’ve averaged 14 hits and eight runs a game here this season.
Umpire Dan Morrison was ill, leaving a three-man crew to call the game. John Shulock worked behind the plate, Tim Welke at first base and Jim Evans at third. Welke was scheduled to work at second and Morrison at first. Morrison also will miss today’s game. The nature of the illness was not disclosed.
The mysterious case of Claudell Washington’s infected left shin has taken yet another bizarre twist, and Manager Doug Rader is beginning to lose patience with the medical community’s inability to figure out exactly what’s wrong. Washington took extra batting practice Friday and said he felt fine. Then he played 4 1/2 innings Friday night and the shin began to swell and hurt again. Washington left during Saturday night’s game to return home and will be admitted to Centinela Hospital Medical Center today for further diagnostic tests. “If we knew specifically what it was, we could treat it and get it over with,” Rader said, “but we can’t get a unified opinion.”
The infection was originally believed to have been caused by insect bites and was diagnosed by Angel dermatologist Ron Cotliar as cellulitis (an infection of cellular or connective tissue). Then Cleveland’s team physician, John Bergfeld, diagnosed the condition as hives early this week. “Then Claudell’s wife called and said the kids had contracted poision oak,” trainer Rick Smith said. “He had been rolling around, playing with the kids before we left. It’s been like a roller coaster. He felt as good as new (Friday). He said he was ready to go with no hesitation when we asked if he could go in the game and then it was swollen again after the game.”
Rader is worried about the durability of Washington’s replacement, Tony Armas. Armas has already spent 65 days on the disabled list this season with a sprained hamstring and left Friday’s game when he felt tightening in his right buttock. “We have to be careful with him,” Rader said. “He’s not in the greatest of shape and it’s not fair to ask him to take over the entire workload. I’ll have to think out (today’s) lineup really carefully. I don’t want to get greedy at Tony’s expense.” Armas’ legs may be questionable, but there’s no doubt about his ability to swing the bat. He hit his second homer in as many games Saturday night and added a single, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. . . . Jack Howell was hit in the right thigh by a pitch from Roy Smith in the eighth inning and left the game but should be available today.
The Anaheim Stadium ticket office will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, selling general admission tickets on reserved-seat basis for the July 4 game against the Texas Rangers and postgame fireworks show. Tickets are also available for Wednesday’s matchup between Texas’ Nolan Ryan and Finley.