Angel Continuity Shows in Lack of Defense as Orioles Win, 3-1

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Kirk McCaskill learned long ago to worry only about elements of the game that he can control.

"The one thing I've always remembered, and it's kept my sanity, is I make a lot of mistakes out on the mound, and for me to judge others isn't right," he said. "I'm very good at concerning myself with what I can deal with. (But) I don't say it doesn't get frustrating, because it does."

To expect a perfect game from either McCaskill or the defense behind him is unrealistic. McCaskill fulfilled his responsibility, giving up two earned runs in pitching his second complete game of the season. The defense didn't.

Pete Coachman's error on a ground ball in his first major league start at second base was the most crucial of three Angel errors Sunday, extending a two-run inning that lifted the Orioles to a 3-1 victory and a sweep of the teams' three-game series. In losing their third consecutive game and fourth in five, the Angels equaled their 1989 loss total of 71.

"Come the end of the year, there will probably be some changes to develop more, I don't want to say continuity, but to try and get what it takes," said Dave Winfield, who drove in the Angels' run off Anthony Telford (2-2) with a groundout in the sixth inning that followed a walk to Max Venable and a double by Brian Downing.

"We haven't had what it takes to win this year. . . . You just can't predict what this team is going to do. You can't predict if it's going to be a good game or a bad game, whether the pitching will be good and the defense will be good. You just don't know."

The Angels' failures Sunday were widespread. They stranded five runners in scoring position, including Rick Schu on third and Coachman on second with one out in the seventh inning, and they thrust McCaskill (11-10) into tough spots with an error by sometime first baseman Schu in the fourth and a wild throw by shortstop Dick Schofield in the sixth. They have committed 116 errors, tying Texas for the second-highest total in the American League and 20 more than they committed last season.

"Everything is intertwined: offense, defense and pitching," said McCaskill, whose 2.81 earned-run average is the fifth-best in the AL.

"Each one is interdependent and affects the others, along with other intangibles. That's why it's a team game and why Chicago does well. That's why we had a good year last year. We didn't light the league on fire, but we had good defense and good pitching."

Coachman, whose poor fielding kept him in the minors for six years, played second only rarely at triple-A Edmonton before his Aug. 17 recall. He started in place of the defensively limited Johnny Ray, who had played 13 consecutive games.

Baltimore had scored once in the second inning on a walk to Mickey Tettleton and singles by David Segui and Bill Ripken, and Steve Finley followed with a shot off Coachman's glove. Segui scored the second run before Coachman threw Bill Ripken out at home.

"At the last second, it hit the back corner of my hand," Coachman said. "I wasn't in the position I wanted to be in to field the ball. If I had been, I would have fielded it cleanly. It cost us a run. If I field it, things could have been different."

Coachman's bad luck carried over to his at-bats. With Schu on first after a single in the seventh, Coachman hit a line drive to the warning track in left that bounced up and over the wall for a ground-rule double. Schu was held at third, where he stayed when Schofield was struck out by right-hander Jose Bautista and pinch-hitter Dante Bichette lined out to second against left-hander Joe Price.

"All three starters (in the series) did their job and put us in the position where we were able to win the ballgames," Manager Doug Rader said. "Unfortunately, the rest of the ballclub didn't respond quite as well. . . . The differences today were subtle, but nonetheless, we just didn't get it done."

Angel Notes

Infielder Kent Anderson might not play again this season after aggravating the hamstring injury that put him on the disabled list from mid-August until Sept. 1. . . . Mark Langston had stiffness in his back after throwing in the bullpen Saturday, but he's expected to start Tuesday against the Minnesota Twins. . . . Chili Davis, out five games because of back pain, was on deck when pinch-hitter Johnny Ray made the final out and should be available tonight against Minnesota. . . . Baltimore won the season series from the Angels, 7-5. . . .The weekend sweep of the Angels was the Orioles' first at home since Aug. 17-19, 1984. . . Edmonton beat Tacoma, 4-0, Sunday to win the best of five Pacific Coast League Northern Division playoff, 3-2. The Trappers will meet Southern Division winner Albuquerque in the best of five championship series starting tonight at Albuquerque.

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