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Angels Get Revenge Against Jeffcoat and Rangers, 5-2

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

On a night when Devon White, the man who never met an outside pitch he didn’t like, set a personal best with three walks in three at-bats, the Angels learned again that good things come to those who wait.

Shut out on five hits by the Texas Rangers’ Mike Jeffcoat last month in Arlington, the Angels returned home Monday night for a rematch with the Rangers’ left-hander--and scored a knockout in the third inning.

Turning three walks and two hits into three quick runs, the Angels disposed of Jeffcoat after only eight outs, wading through four Texas relief pitchers en route to a 5-2 victory before 29,614 at Anaheim Stadium.

Angel rookie Jim Abbott (7-5) got the victory, limiting the Rangers to one run through seven innings before balking home a second run in the top of the eighth.

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Abbott struck out six, including second baseman Jeff Kunkel three times.

Jeffcoat (4-2) extended his scoreless streak against the Angels to 11 innings before breaking down in a hurry in the third, turning a 1-0 Texas lead into a 3-1 deficit.

Dick Schofield opened the inning by drawing a walk and one out later, White did the same. Wally Joyner followed with an opposite-field double into the left-field corner, scoring both Schofield and White.

It was the shortest outing of the season for Jeffcoat, who had won his last two starts, including a 4-0 shutout of Cleveland on June 23.

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Having earned something of a moral victory over Jeffcoat, Abbott and the Angels then went to work on the real thing.

By limiting the Rangers to five hits in eight innings, Abbott won for the first time since June 17. However, he won for the seventh time this season. That is a first for any pitcher without minor league experience since the adoption of baseball’s amateur draft in 1965.

Before Abbott, Dick Ruthven (Philadelphia, 1973) was the big winner for rookie pitchers who went straight from high school or colleges to the majors. Ruthven’s record that year: 6-9.

“It’s meaningful, but I wouldn’t make too big a deal out of it,” Abbott said. “It’s nice, but Burt Hooton won a few games, didn’t he?”

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Hooton, who made the jump from the University of Texas to the Chicago Cubs in 1971, finished his career with 191 big league victories.

“So,” Abbott said, “I have a long way to go.”

Along the way, Abbott will probably to learn to avoid the type of innings he had in the third and the eighth. In the third, Abbott gave up a run after retiring the first two batters. In the eighth, while working with a 3-1 lead, he gave up a one-out double to Sammy Sosa and, one out later, balked him home.

“Tonight, they scored two runs on my inexperience,” Abbott said. “A two-out balk--that’s something the manager doesn’t like. But I’ll continue to work on it.”

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That eighth inning would be all for Abbott. Angel Manager Doug Rader replaced him with Bryan Harvey in the ninth and Harvey recorded his 11th save--but not without giving his usual edge to the proceedings.

With one out, Harvey yielded a single to Julio Franco and a walk to Pete Incaviglia. That brought the tying run to the plate in the person of Thad Bosley, Ranger Manager Bobby Valentine’s first of two pinch-hitters in the inning.

Bosley grounded to first, which enabled Franco and Incaviglia to advance.

That brought up Rick Leach, who was batting in place of Kunkel. And just as Kunkel had in his three at-bats, Leach struck out, finally ending the game.

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The Angels scored their last two runs in the eighth against Kenny Rogers and Gary Mielke, the third and fourth relievers deployed by Valentine. Rogers gave up a walk to Brian Downing and a single to Chili Davis. Mielke got Tony Armas to line into a double play--catching Davis off first base--but gave up a double by Lance Parrish to deep center field that scored Downing.

Parrish then came home on a single by Glenn Hoffman, starting in place of injured third baseman Jack Howell, who was sidelined because of a bruised thigh.

By the time this game was through, White, the Angels’ designated free swinger, would walk three times, an achievement worth noting for someone who had walked only 12 times in his first 77 games of the season. He had a chance to go for four in the seventh, but wound up flying to center field for the third out.

Jeffcoat was responsible for the first two walks, which set the tone for the Rangers.

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“We were a little tired today,” Valentine said. “I felt like we were in a dream world. We just could not kick it. We are just getting used to the smog.”

Either that, or the Angels were just getting used to Jeffcoat.

Angel Notes

Nolan Ryan’s much-awaited return to Anaheim Stadium will have to be awaited for one more day. Before the Texas Rangers were rained out of their Sunday game, Ryan was scheduled to start Wednesday night against the Angels’ Chuck Finley. Now, Ryan will pitch Thursday against Kirk McCaskill in Texas Manager Bobby Valentine’s revamped rotation. Valentine said he made the switch because he didn’t want Sunday starter Kevin Brown to miss a turn, adding that Ryan is more effective when he pitches on an extra day’s rest. Brown (7-4) made only 18 pitches before Sunday’s game was called, so Valentine has scheduled him to pitch tonight. That moves Charlie Hough into Wednesday’s starting slot and pushes Ryan back to Thursday’s series finale. Ryan, 9-4 with a 3.14 earned-run average, is 5-1 with a 1.95 ERA in games he’s pitched with five or more days’ rest.

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Add Ryan: To accommodate those fans who purchased tickets for Wednesday night’s game because Ryan was pitching, the Angels are offering a ticket exchange. Any Wednesday ticket purchased at the Angels’ Anaheim Stadium box office can be traded for a ticket to Thursday’s game. The Angels say their box office will make such exchanges until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Tony Armas was back in right field Monday night because Claudell Washington remained in Inglewood’s Centinela Hospital Medical Center for treatment of his inflamed left shin.


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