Three Angel Reserves Help Rookie Beat the Twins, 4-2
Hilly Hathaway and Mike Butcher?
Rod Correia, Stan Javier and Ron Tingley?
Who are those guys? And what were they doing beating the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, Friday night at Anaheim Stadium.
The surest sign that the Angels have turned the rest of 1993 over to new faces came in Friday’s come-from-behind victory before 23,777.
There were plenty of moments when Manager Buck Rodgers didn’t know what to make of the team he had on the field.
As when Hathaway one-hopped a pitch to Dave Winfield about five feet outside to lead off the sixth inning. As when he heaved another one five feet behind the back of Gene Larkin leading off the seventh.
Rodgers could be seen smiling from the Angel dugout after the pitch to Larkin.
But Hathaway survived to pick up his second major league victory, giving up eight hits and two runs with three walks and two strikeouts.
“After the first three innings, I didn’t think we had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning,” Rodgers said. “Then he turned it around and started to go after them. He kept us close and gave us a chance to win the ballgame, and that’s what you want from your starting pitcher.”
After giving up two runs and six hits in the first three innings, Hathaway (2-1) gave up only two hits and didn’t let a Minnesota runner past second base.
Butcher relieved Hathaway to start the eighth, retiring the Twins in order, and endured a rocky ninth to record his third save.
The other three were each key figures in the Angels’ three-run seventh inning, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.
Correia, given a chance to start in place of Torey Lovullo at second base, singled twice and scored what turned out to be the winning run.
Javier, starting for Luis Polonia in left field, singled to score Tingley and later scored on a single by Chili Davis.
Tingley, filling in for catcher Greg Myers, singled in the third and scored the Angels’ first run.
“The three boys off the bench did good tonight,” Rodgers said. “Javier was a key man in a couple of different situations. The bottom of the lineup got us some key base hits. They all played good.”
Correia, Javier and Tingley wouldn’t have been factors if Hathaway hadn’t fought through a rough first three innings. He wouldn’t have lasted long if not for double plays in each of the first three innings, including a pitcher-to-third-to-first double play on a Winfield comebacker in the third.
“I can’t believe he turned a 1-5-3 double play, man,” Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett said. “I haven’t seen a 1-5-3 double play since Little League. I was talking to (Angel shortstop Gary) DiSarcina. He couldn’t believe that double play either, man.
“You don’t throw the ball to third then first. You throw the ball to the shortstop covering second, then to first. I can’t believe a 1-5-3 double play.”
Perhaps the only thing odder was the sight of Puckett legging out a single on a perfectly executed bunt in the third.
“Those three double plays got him out of deep trouble in the first three innings,” Rodgers said.
As it was, Minnesota scored only two runs on a pair of run-scoring singles by Brian Harper--one in the first and one in the third.
Minnesota starter Jim Deshaies (11-8) retired the first seven batters he faced before giving up back-to-back singles to Tingley and Correia in the third.
But he couldn’t stop the Twins’ streak of 102 consecutive games without a complete game from their pitching staff. By contrast, the Angels lead the American League with 16 complete games.
Deshaies was replaced by Mike Trombley after a walk to Tingley and a single by Correia with one out in the seventh.
Javier slammed Trombley’s first pitch into right field, scoring Tingley. Chad Curtis knocked Trombley’s second pitch into left field, scoring Correia.
After Tim Salmon reached first on a fielder’s choice, Davis drove home Javier with a sharp single to right center.
Salmon was thrown out trying to score from first, but the Angels had all the runs they would need.