Orioles Worsen Angels’ Woes
The Angels might think they hit bottom Monday when they scored four runs in an inning for the first time this season and still lost, but they haven’t hit bottom yet.
However, they may hit the bottom of the AL West any day now, with only one game separating them from the seventh-place Kansas City Royals.
Despite their biggest single-inning production of the season, the Angels continued their downward spiral. The Baltimore Orioles, who entered Monday’s game with an even weaker offense and less pitching depth than the Angels, scored five times in the seventh inning--their single-inning high for the season--for a 6-5 victory before 23,126 at Anaheim Stadium.
Two errors in the fifth, including one by starter Bert Blyleven (1-3), were the Angels’ undoing in their fifth consecutive loss and 14th in the last 19 games. The Angels fell 9 1/2 games behind the division-leading Oakland Athletics, who beat the New York Yankees Monday night.
Blyleven, who had pitched six shutout innings against the Orioles last Wednesday, pitched well for 6 2/3 innings but came undone in the seventh. He was responsible for some of his own problems, as he dropped a throw from Wally Joyner on a potential inning-ending grounder. Four of Baltimore’s runs in the inning were unearned.
The Orioles added a run in the eighth on Cal Ripken’s home run to left, the shortstop’s third this season. That became the margin of victory when the Angels scored a run in the eighth against reliever Gregg Olson, who had not given up a run in 41 consecutive innings dating to July of 1989. He had made 29 appearances without being scored on.
The Angels scored four runs in the first inning, their most in a single inning all season. The Angels, who went 50 innings without scoring three in an inning, had three doubles in the first, extending their club-record streak to 25 games with at least one double.
The Angels did most of their damage with two out. Donnie Hill, given a start at second for only the third time this season, doubled to right with one out and moved to third on Devon White’s grounder to the right side. Chili Davis walked, and Joyner followed with a double to left that scored Hill. It was Joyner’s first RBI in four games and second in six.
Dante Bichette, whose 11-game hitting streak ended Sunday, doubled into the corner in right to drive in Davis and Joyner. Jack Howell was walked intentionally to bring up John Orton, a right-handed hitter, but playing the percentages didn’t work this time. Orton singled sharply to left, scoring Bichette with the fourth run.
Blyleven got through the first four innings easily. He hit leadoff hitter Phil Bradley, but Steve Finley grounded into a double play. Blyleven gave up only one hit in the first four innings, a one-out double by Randy Milligan in the second, and he struck out three.
Tibbs seemed to find his rhythm after the first, as he retired the Angels in order in the next three innings. He retired 13 consecutive batters before Davis grounded a single through the right side to lead off the sixth.
Blyleven gave up a double to Sam Horn in the fifth, but the Orioles could not bring him in. Blyleven got out of the inning by getting Craig Worthington to fly to shallow left and Bob Melvin to fly to right. Blyleven also yielded a one-out single to Bradley in the sixth, but Finley grounded into an inning-ending double play begun by Hill.
After getting the first two outs of the seventh, Blyleven abruptly lost his edge and was removed with two runs in and two runners on base. Mark Eichhorn (0-2), who had allowed only one of 15 inherited runners to score, allowed both to come in and was charged with an additional run as the Orioles took a 5-4 lead.
Milligan started the rally with a double and went to third when Blyleven, covering first, dropped Joyner’s throw on an easy grounder to the right side. Worthington singled home Milligan. Bob Melvin then lined a single to right, and Bichette had a play at the plate on Horn. Bichette’s throw was well ahead of Horn, but Orton couldn’t catch it and was charged with an error.
Eichhorn replaced Blyleven and gave up Bill Ripken’s single up the middle, scoring Worthington. Bradley followed with a one-hop double off the wall in center, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs. Eichhorn struck out Finley to end the inning.
Left-hander Sherman Corbett was optioned to triple-A Edmonton and was replaced on the roster by right-hander Mark Clear. Clear pitched a scoreless ninth inning, striking out two and walking two.
The Angels are now 2-5 in one-run games. . . . Corbett had no record and an earned-run average of 9.00 in five appearances. Clear, who is coming back from elbow surgery, was 1-0 with Edmonton with two saves and a 3.07 ERA in 14 2/3 innings. “I needed to pitch and I wouldn’t have gotten much opportunity up here if they’d kept me as the 13th or 14th pitcher,” said Clear, who has no pain in his elbow. “Down there, I pitched in half the games we played. I got to work on my stuff and get my breaking ball going.” Corbett had been recalled from Edmonton April 12. “When I’ve had the opportunity to pitch, I’ve shown I can pitch well,” he said. “The more I pitch, the better I get.”
Second baseman Johnny Ray, who has persistent soreness in his right shoulder, was scheduled to undergo tests today at Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood.
Shortstop Dick Schofield, who hasn’t played this season because of a strained hamstring, is no longer is taking ground balls after experiencing tightness in the hamstring. Trainer Ned Bergert said he couldn’t estimate when Schofield might return.
Catcher Lance Parrish sat out his third consecutive game because of a sore left knee. However, he said he was ready if needed. . . . Hitting instructor Deron Johnson advised Luis Polonia not to let the home run he hit on Sunday make him swing for the fences. “I told him don’t try to hit 50 home runs,” Johnson said. “He should stick to his game plan.” . . . The Orioles lost outfielder Stan Jefferson to Cleveland on a waiver claim.