Salmon's Exploits Crush Mariners : Baseball: Right fielder goes five for five with five RBIs in 11-1 victory, is 13 for 15 in last three games.


Angel right fielder Tim Salmon trotted across home plate Friday night, looked at teammate Bo Jackson and started giggling, lowering his head as he made his way into the dugout.

Salmon's exploits in the Angels' 11-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners were such that Jackson stood in front of him, dramatically shrugged his shoulders and threw his hands into the air as if to say, "I can't believe what I'm seeing."

Culminating the finest three-game hitting performance in the American League in the last 42 years, Salmon went five for five, including two home runs and a double, drove in five runs and scored four.

Salmon's 13 hits in three games tied an American League record, last accomplished by Walt Dropo of the Detroit Tigers July 14-15, 1952. The only other American League player to accomplish the feat was Joe Cronin of the Washington Senators June 19-21, 1933.

In the three games, Salmon batted .867 (13 for 15) with two doubles, one triple, three home runs and eight runs batted in.

What kind of week has it been for him?

He batted .632 (24 for 38) in the last seven games with three homers, three doubles, one triple, 14 runs driven in and 12 runs scored.

Salmon, who never had more than three hits in a game during his career, has now produced a five-hit game and two four-hit games in consecutive games. He has raised his batting average from .225 to .336 in nine games.

Sure, Salmon has had momentary streaks of invincibility, feeling as if no pitcher can get him out, but never has he experienced anything like this.

"To tell you the truth," Salmon said, "I can't believe it myself. I'm just zeroed in right now. The ball looks so big."

The Angels, who produced a season-high 22 hits, including four by Chili Davis, matching a career high. They have 44 hits in their last two games in the Kingdome.

Certainly, they provided starter Chuck Finley all the support he would need. Finley (2-3) yielded only one hit through the first eight innings, but Rich Amaral ended his bid for a second one-hitter with a leadoff homer in the ninth. He settled for a three-hitter, and took part in the Salmon celebration.

The Angels (16-20), who have won three consecutive games to remain in first place in the American League West, also managed to keep alive the continuing saga of "Where's J.T. Snow?"

Although first baseman Eduardo Perez was unable to play for the eighth consecutive game, and will test his ailing wrist in batting practice today, Snow remains in triple-A Vancouver, wondering what's going on.

Snow's uniform remains neatly folded and tucked away in the visiting clubhouse at the Kingdome. But Snow, who is hitting .301 with a team-leading eight doubles, five home runs and 24 RBIs, remains in Vancouver.

"Everybody is pushing J.T. so hard," Angel Manager Buck Rodgers said, "but if I brought him up, where am I going to play him? People forget there's a guy doing better in the major leagues than one guy is doing in the minor leagues, and that's (Jim) Edmonds.

"Since Perez has been out, Jimmy's been a godsend. If we hadn't been able to play Jimmy at first base, we would have had to rush J.T. up here. I'm not saying we wouldn't bring up J.T., but I wouldn't arbitrarily put J.T. in and Edmonds out. That would be crazy.

"We want to do what's best for the California Angels, and we want to do what's best for J.T. Snow. If the two come together, great. If they don't, you're going to have to prioritize, and the Angels come first."

Edmonds, who is batting .346, understands the fans' fascination with Snow. He's a local boy, the son of a former Ram all-pro receiver, looks like an All-America hero and carried the Angels the first month of last season.

"He's a good friend of mine," Edmonds said, "and I don't think anybody wants to see J.T. do bad. It's hard to lose a friend like that (to the minors).

"I'm going to fight to stay here, and hope things work out for both people."

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