Chili Davis looked up at the crowd that had gathered around his locker Saturday night at Anaheim Stadium and cracked a smile.
He had hit a winning solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, leading the Angels to a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, and was trying his best to answer reporters’ questions.
Suddenly, he stopped and delivered a wicked smirk.
“I don’t even know his name,” he said. “I saw him the other day. He was running with Mike Fetters.”
Other than that Davis had no clue as to rookie relief pitcher Matt Maysey’s identity as he faced the right-hander with the score tied in the ninth.
“I watched him warm up,” Davis said. “Fastball and knuckle curveball.”
With one out and the count 3 and 2, Davis slammed a knuckle curve over the right-field fence, making a winner of reliever Ken Patterson (1-1).
“It used to be you knew who you were facing,” said Davis, who also singled and doubled to erase memories of four strikeouts against Cal Eldred on Friday. “Now you don’t know who you’re facing. Luis (Polonia) and I were talking about that earlier today.”
He could have as easily have been talking about Mark Holzemer, the rookie left-hander who became the Angels’ 21st pitcher this season, tying a club record. Holzemer, the club’s 10th different starter this season, went six innings, sending mixed signals in his major league debut.
Holzemer gave up five runs and nine hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
“You get that first one under your belt and I think everyone gives a sigh of relief,” Manager Buck Rodgers said. “Hopefully, he learned his lesson in the second inning. You can’t just throw. You have to pitch.”
Said Holzemer: “I wasn’t nervous in the bullpen and I wasn’t nervous warming up, but after I got the first guy out, then it hit me.”
Davis’ three hits and a career-best four RBIs by rookie third baseman Eduardo Perez helped the Angels rally from 5-3 and 6-5 deficits.
“You have to give Perez a lot of credit for picking up those four RBIs,” Davis said. “They were pretty big RBIs. You like to see him keep producing. He’s going to be a great addition to have next year, right there in the fifth slot (in the batting order). We won’t have to go out looking for somebody.”
It seems as if there has been a revolving door at third base, the only position coming close to the ever-changing faces on the mound this year.
Six players have filled in at the position, but only Rene Gonzales has played more games than Perez, 55 to 22.
As for Davis, he had only good things to say about Eldred.
“I should have been more upset than I was,” he said of his four strikeouts.
However, Davis harbored no lingering anger as he faced Teddy Higuera in the first inning. He blooped a single down the right field line and later scored on Perez’s three-run triple.
In the seventh, Davis doubled and scored on Perez’s single, making the score 6-6.
By that inning, the number of able-bodied umpires was down to two. Larry Barnett, the crew chief, never made it to the field, heading to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange complaining of chest pains. He later was released and is expected back today. Next, Derryl Cousins left to be with his wife, who went into labor at an El Segundo hospital, leaving Greg Kosc and Dan Morrison to fend for themselves.