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Winfield’s Hit Finally Makes Grahe a Winner : Baseball: Angels score twice in bottom of ninth to give right-hander first victory in eight starts.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

He kept telling himself he would win a start someday, although time after time that day failed to arrive for Angel right-hander Joe Grahe.

Jim Gantner’s two-out home run in the ninth inning Friday night seemed to frustrate Grahe again, but two runs in the bottom of the ninth made Grahe’s day.

Dave Winfield’s single to right field off Brewer reliever Doug Henry gave the Angels a 2-1 victory before 21,417 at Anaheim Stadium and gave Grahe (2-7) his first victory as a starter in eight tries.

“Something dramatic had to happen. I can’t get a normal win,” Grahe said, smiling. “That would be too easy.”

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Through his struggles--and there have been many, going back to when he failed to retire any of the seven Milwaukee hitters he faced in his first start on June 18--Grahe has maintained a sense of humor. That enabled him to see the irony in giving up a home run to Gantner, who has hit two homers this week after not hitting any since 1987.

“I figured that was the coup de grace there. I go 8 2/3 (innings) and give up a home run and lose, 1-0,” Grahe said. “We were awesome in coming back. I went from being real down to being real up. It’s kind of weird, but a little better this way.”

Grahe’s victory, the first complete game of his career, left the Angels’ fifth starters with a cumulative 2-16 record.

“The first couple of innings he was overthrowing a little bit and they hit the ball hard, but the defense got him by the first few innings,” Angel Manager Buck Rodgers said. “After that, he made his pitches. If you can’t challenge Jim Gantner 2 and 1,who in the league can you challenge?”

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The Brewers challenged Grahe by loading the bases in the third inning on two a pair of two-out singles and a walk, but he Grahe got Darryl Hamilton to ground into a force play. “That was a big out, a changeup with the bases loaded,” Rodgers said approvingly. “I like the way he pitched.”

Rodgers also liked the way the Angels rallied against Chris Bosio (10-10). Luis Polonia drew a one-out walk and had to stop at second base on Junior Felix’s single to short center field. Wally Joyner tied the game with a single to center for his 88th run batted in, and moved Felix to third.

Milwaukee Manager Tom Trebelhorn brought in Henry, a right-hander, to face Winfield, but Winfield foiled that strategy by rapping an 0-and-1 pitch to right.

“He’s been struggling, and he went the other way. He went back to his instinct,” said Rodgers, who is 5-5 since replacing Doug Rader on Aug. 26. “He got a ball out over the plate and just drove it.”

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