Before Wednesday, the Angels had trailed after the seventh inning 23 times this season. And 23 times they had lost.
This time, they were down, 4-1, in the ninth inning at Anaheim Stadium, but they came up with four runs, capped by Lance Parrish's single to left that drove in Johnny Ray for a 5-4 Angel victory.
Toronto Blue Jay starter Dave Stieb had pitched 4 2/3 innings of no-hit ball and given up only three hits over seven innings, but it went for naught after the ninth, when the Angel offense, near silent to that point, went to work.
Luis Polonia led off to with a single to center, only the Angels' fourth hit of the game. Max Venable struck out, but Devon White walked, putting runners on first and second for Wally Joyner, who in the seventh inning had hit a solo home run to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Joyner, who has hit in 16 of his last 17 games, sent reliever Duane Ward's first pitch to him into left field for a double, driving in Polonia and White and cutting the lead to 4-3.
After Chili Davis lined out to left, that brought up Ray, who had broken up Stieb's no-hitter in the fifth. Ray's double down the first-base line drove in Joyner, tying the score.
Donnie Hill walked, and the Blue Jays brought on Jim Acker, who gave up the hit to Parrish, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter.
Scott Bailes (1-0) was the winning pitcher.
Stieb's work week was a far cry from Jim Abbott's.
Stieb pitched against the Angels last Friday, and lasted 3 1/3 innings. Abbott pitched in that game, too, went 6 2/3 innings and got the victory.
But Abbott was making an emergency start that day, and had pitched two days earlier. Abbott was making his third start in eight days. Stieb had hardly worked.
Stieb did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth, when Ray lined a full-count pitch to left field.
Stieb still had the shutout until the seventh inning. But with one out, Joyner drove a ball to right-center, sending Mookie Wilson leaping above the fence at the 386-foot mark, but to no avail. The homer was Joyner's second in as many games, and gave him six in 41 games this season--a mark he didn't reach until July 30 of last season, in his 101st game. Joyner has hit in 16 of his past 17 games, and raised his batting average from .222 on May 5 to .301.
Abbott, pressed into service last Friday after scheduled starter Chuck Finley sprained an ankle on his way to a restaurant, said that outing helped him recover from a poor one two days earlier in which he lasted only 1 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs, seven of them earned.
But with the solace of his performance Friday, he had a good outing to tide him over until his next start.
The Blue Jays got to Abbott for a run in the first inning on double by Kelly Gruber and a single by George Bell.
After giving up the run in the first inning, Abbott cruised through the next three, giving up only two singles, to Manny Lee and Pat Borders.
He opened the fifth by giving up singles to Lee and Junior Felix. Tony Fernandez bunted to the right side of the infield, but first baseman Wally Joyner, playing in, fielded it and threw sharply to third to get Lee.
Abbott got Mookie Wilson to knock the ball back to the mound, and he fielded it cleanly. But Abbott hesitated, looking to third. By the time he threw to first, Wilson was safe, loading the bases for Kelly Gruber, who is batting .311 with 12 home runs.
That didn't seem to bode well for Abbott. Two of Gruber's homer had come in his past 14 at-bats. On the other hand, none had come on the road.
Gruber delivered only a single to left, but it was plenty to drive in Felix and Fernandez and send Wilson to third.
The Blue Jays made the lead 4-0 when Wilson scored run on George Bell's ground out, which required a diving stop by third baseman Donnie Hill to get the second out. Fred McGriff flied out to left to end the inning, but the damage was done--three runs on four hits.
Third baseman Jack Howell was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Tuesday, becoming the seventh player the Angels have on the list, including four infielders. Howell, who sprained his left knee Monday on a defensive play at third, underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test that showed no cartilage damage, and trainer Ned Bergert said the team is "very optimistic" he will be able to play in 15 days. Donnie Hill started at third. Until the Angels make a roster move--probably by recalling infielder Rick Schu from Edmonton--the backup third baseman is left-handed first baseman Wally Joyner, Manager Doug Rader said. Joyner has taken grounders at third, as have others, including outfielders Dante Bichette and Chili Davis. Rader said Joyner "was fine." Asked if any of the outfielders could play third, he said, "As soon as they start taking up residence on Fantasy Island."
Dave Winfield returned to Anaheim Stadium for the first time as an Angel, but did not start. Winfield pinch-hit in his first game with the team last Thursday, and had started each of the past five, during which time the Angels were 4-1. "Winnie is on the bench because what he's trying to do right now is play himself into shape, and that's very difficult to do during the season," Rader said. "He's really been busting it since he's been here. He hadn't been playing full time with the Yankees. This is different. He needed to get away for a day. He'll be in there tomorrow."
Infielder Kent Anderson (sprained right shoulder) was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 21-day list. Catcher Bill Schroeder (post-surgical elbow rehabilitation) was transferred from the 21-day list to the 30-day list, and Rader said he probably will be given a rehabilitation assignment soon.