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He’s Seen Error of His Ways : Angels: Finley throws away bunt in Mariners’ seven-run fourth and Seattle goes on to score a 10-8 victory.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Everything seemed in place for the Angels Thursday night. They had what they always seem to be wanting--a leadoff man and a lead.

They had Luis Polonia batting first, in his first start as an Angel. They scored their first two runs on no hits, and led by four before the Mariners batted a second time.

And on the mound they had Chuck Finley, the left-hander with a 0.96 earned-run average.

The Angels seemed on their way to their third victory in a row. Instead, they found themselves without one of the few things that seemed certain--a steady outing by Finley, who fell apart in the Angels’ 10-8 loss to Seattle in front of 12,279 in the Kingdome.

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“I’ll take full responsibility for the loss,” said Finley, who fell to 3-2. “The guys busted their . . . for me. They spotted me four runs. I’m not going to sit and make excuses. I stunk. I feel bad.”

Three more Angel errors--raising their total to 19--played a large part in the loss. One of them belonged to Finley, and it was the one that did him in.

He took a 6-3 lead into the Mariners’ half of the fourth. But he left without getting the first out of an inning that became a seven-run barrage, topped by Jeff Leonard’s second 400-foot homer of the game, a three-run shot off Scott Bailes.

Finley walked the first two batters in the fourth, then gave up a run-scoring single to Dave Valle. With runners on first and second, Mike Brumley bunted. Finley fielded the ball within a few feet of the third-base line, but his throw to first sailed past first baseman Wally Joyner. Darnell Coles and Valle raced around the bases, Valle scoring ahead of Dante Bichette’s throw.

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That tied the score, 6-6, and Bailes relieved Finley, who eventually was charged with seven runs, four of them earned.

Brumley, who had gone to second on Finley’s error, was sacrificed to third by Harold Reynolds, and scored when shortstop Donnie Hill was charged with an error on Henry Cotto’s grounder. Bailes walked Ken Griffey Jr., bringing up Leonard.

“He kind of got me out of my game,” said Bailes, saying that Leonard’s first home-run trot and his stalling had irritated him. “He stands a lot, too.”

Leonard took a ball, and then sent a high fastball into the left-field stands, a three-run homer that gave him two in a game for the seventh time in his career, and tied his career-high of five RBIs.

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“I go out and try to pitch like Nolan Ryan, and he does the same thing to me,” Bailes said.

Bailes went four innings, giving up three runs, two of them earned, on three hits. Together, he and Finley walked six batters, three each, and Seattle’s six pitchers walked seven.

Finley’s shining earned-run average of 0.96 took on a decided tarnish, soaring to 2.03. His record fell to 3-2.

He had not given up a home run all season, until Leonard’s shot in the third inning, which was estimated to have traveled 435 feet.

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Unlike the team, Finley had not traveled overnight from Baltimore for the game in Seattle, the first of six games the Angels must make up because of the lockout. Instead, he traveled Wednesday afternoon in order to be rested.

Seattle starter Matt Young had the same option to travel from Boston, but chose to come with the team.

The game began with the Mariners’ starting pitcher struggling. The Angels scored two runs on Young without getting a hit, putting together two walks and two errors with a fielder’s choice.

The Angels scored two again in the second, when Hill’s double drove in Johnny Ray, who had doubled, and Rick Schu, who singled.

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The Mariners scored a run in the third when Darnell Coles doubled, driving in O’Brien, who had singled.

Leonard’s two-run homer in the third made it 4-3, but the Angels scored two more runs in fourth on two walks and Devon White’s two-run single.

Young left after three-plus innings, allowing six runs, four of them earned, on four hits.

Rookie Brent Knackert, the second of six Seattle pitchers, earned his first major league victory by giving up only one hit over two innings. Knackert, a product of Ocean View High in Huntington Beach, made his first major league appearance in front of his home fans at Anaheim Stadium last month.

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The Angels mounted a rally in the eighth inning. Jack Howell, batting for Schu, led off with a homer to right, his second. They added another run when Joyner’s two-out single to right drove in Polonia, who had singled and stole second.

Seattle ace Mike Schooler relieved, and Chili Davis’ double to right put runners on second and third. But Bichette lined out to left to end the inning with the Angels still trailing, 10-8.

Schooler picked up the save, his sixth, by retiring the Angels in order in the ninth.

Polonia’s play in his role as the man who has relieved White of pressure to lead off was the most encouraging aspect of the evening for the Angels, who finished their longest road trip of the season with a 5-8 record.

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Polonia started in left and went two for three. His repertoire included some quality leadoff plays: He walked to open the game and later scored, he sacrificed, and he stole a base.

“For the first time this year, I feel like I’m playing baseball,” Polonia said. “Before with the Yankees, I didn’t. I can’t wait (to play the Yankees). I’ve got something for them. But I’ve got good control of myself.”

“I thought he did a very good job,” Manager Doug Rader said. “I’m happy for Luis. He did a lot of things.”

Angel Notes

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The Seattle Fire Department was called to the Angels’ hotel Thursday after an alarm was pulled in a hallway when smoke was detected outside a player’s room. The player, whom neither the Angels nor the hotel would identify, had been burning some papers in a trash can. Bert Blyleven, the usual suspect, was not involved, an Angel spokesman said. “I heard the alarm and checked my room,” said Blyleven, who has been known to set shoelaces on fire. “It wasn’t me.”

Johnny Ray’s second-inning double was the 21st game in a row in which the Angels have a double, equaling the team record. . . . Shortstop Dick Schofield ran at about 50% Thursday, and continues to take ground balls and batting practice. The Angels hope Schofield, recovering from a hamstring injury, will be ready for his first appearance of the season in 10 to 14 days.


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