With the Kansas City Royals wondering when their next victory might come, Manager John Wathan sought solace in pondering the pitching of Bret Saberhagen and Mark Gubicza.
The former was no help. Gubicza gets a chance tonight to break a losing streak that has stretched to eight games.
Saberhagen drew the Angels’ Chuck Finley for the second time in a row and the Royals walked away the losers again Tuesday night, 3-0, before 27,250 at Anaheim Stadium.
“Different night, same story,” said Wathan, who has remained the calm and congenial center of a club that is showing signs of strain--first Saberhagen publicly venting his frustration, then Mark Davis, now Bo Jackson.
Finley (9-3) shut out the Royals on seven hits over eight innings before giving way to Bryan Harvey, who pitched the ninth for his seventh save.
With the victory, the Angels moved to 8 1/2 games behind Oakland in the American League West.
Saberhagen lost to Finley for the second time in a row, the last a 2-1 complete-game Thursday in Kansas City in which Finley allowed four hits over eight innings.
“He beat a very good pitcher twice in one week,” Angel Manager Doug Rader said. “That’s even more of a compliment to him because from the sixth inning on, he battled. It wasn’t as easy as it looked. Those are two special people with special abilities. You can never give Saberhagen enough credit. He’s an exceptionally fine pitcher. I feel fortunate to beat him twice in one week.”
After the first loss to Finley, Saberhagen lashed out at his team, saying he was “disgusted.”
After Tuesday’s game, Saberhagen, last year’s Cy Young winner, fell to 5-5 despite an earned-run average of 2.75.
The Royals have scored only eight runs in their past seven games. They fell to 13 games below .500.
Saberhagen held his tongue.
“I have nothing good to say, so I’d better not say anything,” Saberhagen said. “I’ll say this: ‘Finley threw another good game.”
Finley lowered his ERA 2.44 and raised his record at home to 6-0.
The Angels, led by Dave Winfield’s three-for-four performance, gave Finley a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, but he never had a margin of comfort. The final two runs came in the eighth, by which time his evening’s work was done.
The only Royal to have any real success against him was Bill Pecota, who started at shortstop in place of Kurt Stillwell. Pecota went four for four.
The Angels scored in the fourth inning.
Saberhagen, who struck out eight in allowing 10 hits and three runs over 7 1/3 innings, was in the process of striking out the side, but, with two gone, he ran into the hottest part of the Angel lineup.
Winfield, batting fifth, had hit four home runs in his past five games, including a two-run shot Monday. Lance Parrish brought in an eight-game hitting streak that included three home runs, among them a ninth-inning game-winner Monday.
Winfield singled to left-center. Parrish hit the next pitch into the gap in right-center for a double, Winfield scoring.
“I saw it was in the gap and there were two outs,” Winfield said. “I tried to score. A lot of guys want one base all the time, but I was looking to score all the way.”
Saberhagen struck out Donnie Hill to end the inning.
Finley had gotten out of a bases-loaded situation of his own creation, giving up a single and two walks in the fourth inning before he stuck out Willie Wilson looking.
Finley allowed a runner as far as third base again in the sixth inning. Pecota singled and reached third base with two outs. But Finley got Brett to fly to center field, just shy of the warning track, to end the threat.
All Saberhagen’s work fell through for good in the eighth inning.
Wally Joyner singled with one out and took third on Winfield’s double to left. Saberhagen walked Parrish intentionally to load the bases.
Hill’s single to right field easily scored Joyner. When Jim Eisenreich’s throw sailed to the backstop, Winfield slid home safely as well, giving the Angels a 3-0 lead.
Saberhagen lost for the fifth time in 10 decisions.
“You have to get your runs any way you can off of Saberhagen,” Winfield said. “He’s consistent, and there aren’t many innings where you’re going to get more than one run off him.”
Kirk McCaskill has a small bone spur in his right elbow, an examination indicated Tuesday, and will miss his scheduled start Friday at Detroit. Mark Langston will replace McCaskill in Friday’s start, the second McCaskill has missed because of elbow problems this season. McCaskill, who is taking oral anti-inflammatory medication, is next scheduled to start June 19 at Chicago. He left Saturday’s victory against Texas after 5 1/3 innings with stiffness in his elbow and was examined by team orthopedist Lewis Yocum Tuesday. McCaskill also missed a turn after experiencing tenderness after a start May 10 and missed a second when he returned home to be with his wife and newborn son, who had developed pneumonia. McCaskill, 4-3 with a 2.35 earned run average, has a no-decision, two victories and a 1-0 loss in his four starts since returning to the rotation. Langston, replacing him Friday, will be pitching on four days rest because of the team’s off day Thursday. . . . Manager Doug Rader will miss tonight’s game to attend the high school graduation of his son Matt in Stuart, Fla. The game is the first Rader has missed as a player, coach or manager other than when he was on the disabled list, Rader said. In his absence, Moose Stubing will handle the offense, Marcel Lachemann the pitchers and Bobby Knoop the defensive positioning and replacements.
Rader spent a few minutes before Tuesday’s game admiring the achievement of Nolan Ryan, who pitched his sixth no-hitter Monday at age 43. “There have been a lot of people who have been bequeathed with unbelieveable gifts,” Rader said. “He’s one of the few to take absolute advantage and develop it to the utmost. That’s probably the greatest thing he’s done. There have been a lot of other people put on this earth with fantastic arms who had minimal success. He’s fulfilled it.”
* CAL RIPKEN: Oriole shortstop has second-longest consecutive-game streak. C13