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Howell Keeps Beating Up on Right-Handers : Third Baseman Hits 16th Homer, Figures in Winning Rally With Single in 9th

Times Staff Writer

Jack Howell can’t help but smile when he sees a right-handed pitcher on the opposing team’s lineup card, or when a right-handed reliever enters a game.

And Friday night was no exception as Howell went three for four and scored the winning run in the ninth inning that was charged to right-handed reliever Donn Pall in a 6-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Anaheim Stadium.

Howell hit his team-leading 16th homer of the season off starter Rich Dotson, a right-hander, in the fifth inning to tie the score at 2-2. He also doubled off Pall to drive in a run and scored to key a three-run sixth inning.

Howell’s homer was his 15th consecutive against a right-handed pitcher. His only homer against a left-hander this season was against Seattle’s Dennis Powell on April 15.

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“Early in the season I was struggling,” Howell said. “I was platooning against a lot of good left-handers.

“Actually, I feel a lot better against left-handers. The key against them is trying to stay aggressive.”

Howell, a .228 hitter entering the game, was aggressive in the ninth with the score tied at 5-5. He led off against Pall with a single to center, moved to third when Dick Schofield reached on a throwing error by White Sox first baseman Ivan Calderon and scored on Claudell Washington’s sacrifice fly to left.

White Sox Manager Jeff Torborg said he thought center fielder Dave Gallagher caught Howell’s line-drive single in the ninth.

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“I did not see the ball under the glove,” Torborg said. “And I did not see the ball bounce.”

Television replays were inconclusive.

“We’ve had a series of ups and downs this season where everyone contributed,” Howell said. “It’s been a team effort as well as a few breaks that have kept us on a winning streak.”

The Angels, who have won nine of their past 10 games, are 15-1 in games in which the left-handed-hitting third baseman has hit a home run.

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Howell belted a 1-2 pitch into the right-field bullpen, his second homer in as many nights against the White Sox. He hit a three-run homer in an 8-5 victory Thursday night.

“It was definitely a nice feeling holding them to a tie going into the ninth,” Howell said of Friday night’s game. “That way I could be a lot more aggressive. I didn’t have to try to hit a home run, but just get a hit and get on base.”

Howell’s homer was his seventh of the month. He also has driven in 16 runs in July.

And he has produced those numbers while hitting from the No. 8 spot in the lineup.

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Manager Doug Rader said the bottom third of the Angels’ lineup--Lance Parrish, Howell and shortstop Dick Schofield--has been productive.

“The reason they’re down there is not because they can’t hit,” he said. “It’s because we’re trying to play nine innings of offense. Without their production, you’ll get only five innings of offense if you’re lucky.”


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