Max Venable Fills In Where Needed : Playing for Washington, He Helps Struggling Angels

Times Staff Writer

At last, you didn’t need a closed fist to count the number of hits and heroes at an Angel game.

In fact, you needed all 10 digits and then some Tuesday evening as every Angel starter chipped in at least one hit, going through Milwaukee Brewer pitching like a slice-and-dice machine.

Chili Davis had a home run, as did Brian Downing. Kent Anderson contributed a pair of hits. Devon White, Johnny Ray, Wally Joyner, Lance Parrish and Jack Howell all checked out with assorted singles and doubles.

Eight runs and three-plus hours later, the Angels had their first win in their last six tries. All in all, a night to remember.

What they might want to do is send a special note of thanks to understudy outfielder Max Venable, who took care of business while Claudell Washington continued to take care of personal matters.


Venable did everything he was asked to do Tuesday, which was play right field without incident and add what he could to an Angel offense that recently has lacked punch.

How does a run-scoring double sound? Or how about an RBI single an inning later?

As for fielding--no problem. Except for a couple of fly balls and grounders his way, Venable spent most of the night watching the Brewers struggle for runs.

Of course, it beats his probable vantage point had Washington returned to the lineup Tuesday: the dugout.

Instead, Venable was out and about, helping the Angels end a nasty losing streak and keeping them within viewing distance of the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics. Not bad for someone who didn’t even play baseball last year, who began the 1989 season in Edmonton with a minimal chance of ever seeing the lights of Anaheim Stadium.

But there he was--again--providing a pair of timely hits when the Angels needed them most, which is to say, early.

It was Venable who hit the double that cut a third-inning 2-0 Brewer lead in half. Minutes later he was crossing the plate, courtesy of a Davis homer.

The next inning, Venable lined a single to left, which scored Anderson from second. The Angels never were required to look back after that, what with those three runs in the third, two runs in the fourth, two runs in the fifth and one run in the sixth.

This is Venable’s second stay with the Angels this year. Back in mid-July, he was called up to keep Washington’s place in the lineup warm as Washington tended to an illness in the family. During his brief six-day appearance, Venable, 32, did himself proud. He collected 10 hits in just 18 at-bats. You hardly knew Washington was absent.

The Angels remembered. When it came time to expand their roster on Sept. 1, they plucked Venable from the triple-A Edmonton team once more. In return, Venable provided those two RBIs Tuesday. It was the least he could do.