The back-to-back plays by Angel center fielder Chad Curtis Wednesday night in the 13th inning of a 7-6 victory over the New York Yankees were the greatest his manager and several teammates had ever seen.
"I've never seen back-to-back plays like that in my life," Angel Manager Buck Rodgers said.
Said starting pitcher Joe Magrane: "After seeing that, you can burn that Willie Mays tape."
Said right fielder Tim Salmon, who played alongside Curtis at Grand Canyon College: "I never have never seen him make a play like that. In fact, I've never seen anyone make a play like that."
It happened with one out and Don Mattingly on second base. Gerald Williams hit a drive that began sailing over Curtis' head. Curtis ran back at nearly full speed, stuck his glove in the air, and caught it over his left shoulder. Mattingly, who was caught halfway between second and third, had no choice but to retreat to second base.
Right afterward, Paul O'Neill slapped a single to center. Curtis, knowing that Mattingly would be sent home, charged the ball, and threw it with all his might while somersaulting in the air. The throw was perfect, and catcher Jorge Fabregas was waiting with the ball when Mattingly arrived home, tagging him out.
Relievers Joe Grahe and Bob Patterson were the unsung heroes in Wednesday's game, pitching 5 2/3 shutout innings. It was the first time either had appeared in a winning game for the Angels since April 15.
"I've never been involved in any kind of playoffs," Grahe said, "but as much as we needed a win, that was the greatest win I've ever been a part of. Boy, we needed that one. It was like a playoff game for us. Hopefully, we can look back and that one and say that was the one that got us going."
Angel first baseman Eduardo Perez will be kept out of the starting lineup until at least Saturday, Rodgers said, while they attempt to get him out of his hitting slump. Perez is batting .200 this season, and only .146 since April 22. Perez, who also is playing with a strained ligament in his left wrist, was replaced in the lineup by Jim Edmonds . . . Angel third-base coach Ken Macha underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, and missed Thursday's the game. First base coach Bobby Knoop moved to third, and bullpen coach Max Oliveras moved to first . . . The Athletics activated second baseman Brent Gates before the game, and designated Mike Brumley for assignment. The move also sends former Dodger Steve Sax back to the bench. . . . Angel catcher Jorge Fabregas, who was called up when Greg Myers was placed on the disabled list, began the game batting .381, throwing out three of seven potential base stealers.