Rangers Ruin This Angel Homecoming : Baseball: Kyle Abbott, of Mission Viejo High, CS Long Beach, has good outing but loses debut, 6-1.
The low buzz of the crowd of 20,835 at Anaheim Stadium on Tuesday night was punctuated by shouts of encouragement from those who have known Kyle Abbott for years. A sign on the right-field terrace--probably hung by his cousin, Abbott said--put it simply: GO KYLE.
The 23-year-old left-hander who graduated from Mission Viejo High School and led Cal State Long Beach to the College World Series in 1989 was making his major league debut.
He handled it with aplomb, striking out the side in the first inning and allowing two runs and six hits over six innings, with three walks and three strikeouts.
But he suffered the fate of many other Angel pitchers this season, getting little offensive support and taking the loss as the Texas Rangers beat the Angels, 6-1.
“A pretty good outing for the kid tonight,” Manager Buck Rodgers said. “He wasn’t nervous from the outset. He went right at them.”
Abbott left the game trailing, 2-1, but reliever Chris Beasley gave up a two-run home run to Ruben Sierra in the eighth, and Mike Fetters gave up a two-run homer to Rafael Palmeiro in the ninth.
“I thought it was a quality start,” Abbott said. “That’s all you can ask for out of your first big league outing.”
Texas starter Jose Guzman (11-5) beat the Angels for the third time this season, giving up one run over eight innings.
Abbott faced a Texas lineup that included three players hitting over .300, two with 95 or more runs batted in and two contenders for the American League batting title--including Julio Franco.
Franco passed Boston’s Wade Boggs for the American League lead by going three for five and raising his average to .341, two percentage points ahead of Boggs.
“You go up against this lineup--a veteran pitcher wouldn’t want to face this lineup right now,” said catcher Lance Parrish.
The first big league batter Abbott faced was Brian Downing, whom Abbott watched for years as a teen-ager, when he used to come to Anaheim Stadium on his father’s season tickets or with friends who would sit in the outfield seats.
Abbott said his nervousness left him after he began warming up.
“After that, it felt like a regular start--except Brian Downing was at the plate.”
The first pitch was a called strike. Downing fouled off the second and struck out swinging on the third. Abbott started Palmeiro with a first-pitch strike, too. With a 2-2 count, Abbott caught Palmeiro looking, then stepped off the mound, kicking the air with emotion. Franco struck out swinging on the fourth pitch.
“I never even dreamed about that,” Abbott said.
After getting out of the second with the help of a double play, Abbott wasn’t so fortunate in the third. Franco singled between third and short to drive in Downing. The rookie also gave up a run in the fifth on Palmeiro’s single.
But the reviews remained positive. “He seemed very poised,” Parrish said. “In my opinion, he never got rattled.”