Angels Tumble Again : Baseball: Kansas City scores six runs in first inning, then holds off California rally for 7-6 victory. Angels’ lead is trimmed to three games.


Three weeks ago, the Angels were beginning a stretch that would include 12 losses in 13 games, but they dropped only three games in the standings during that tumble.

Now, the losses continue to mount.

Now, Seattle is making them count.

The Angels lost their third game in a row Saturday night, succumbing, 7-6, to Kansas City, and lost their third consecutive game in the standings in the process. They were leading the division by eight games on Sept. 31, but now have a rapidly shrinking three-game margin over the surging Mariners, who rallied to beat Chicago. Texas, which also won, is only five back.

The Angels, whose magic number remains 11--same as it was Tuesday night--are desperately trying to cling to a “what-me-worry?” outlook. But signs of strain are starting to show.


After Friday night’s loss, Manager Marcel Lachemann told reporters, “I don’t see anything to worry about, but if you guys continue to write about it and make it an issue, it will become an issue.”

It officially became an issue about 15 minutes after the first pitch Saturday night, at least to the paid crowd of 35,124 which booed the home team heartily as they fumbled and flailed.

Starter Shawn Boskie, hailed as a savior on Monday when he threw a complete-game five-hitter against Chicago, pitched another five-hitter . . . unfortunately for the Angels, he only got two batters out.

The Royals parlayed a walk, a Tony Phillips’ throwing error and the five hits--including Keith Lockhart’s three-run homer--into six first-inning runs. Lockhart’s shot was the 13th first-inning homer the Angels have given up in the last 25 games.

Brian Anderson replaced Boskie and restored order, striking out a career-high six batters and giving up five hits and one run during a six-inning stint. The run came on an Anderson balk in the seventh.

But the once-vaunted Angel offense, which had managed a total of seven hits and one run in the previous two losses, continued to sputter and choke until they scored five runs in the eighth inning.


Chili Davis’ single to right drove in J.T. Snow with the Angels’ first run in 20 innings, Anderson followed with a run-scoring single and Rex Hudler, hitless in his previous 21 at-bats, smacked a three-run homer to left.

Lachemann, who was attempting to stir things up by scrambling his lineup, inserted No. 2 hitter Jim Edmonds into the lead-off spot ahead of the slumping Phillips and moved Snow up from the sixth position to No. 3. He also flip- flopped Tim Salmon, who normally hits fifth, and Davis, who’s usually in the clean-up spot.

“I hit lead-off for about a week last year,” Edmonds said. “I think I hit about .065 and then they got me out of there. But if it shakes up the team, it shakes up the team.”

For seven innings, it was more like shake, [death] rattle and roll [over].

Phillips struck out for the fifth consecutive time in the first inning [boos], again with a runner on in the fifth [more boos] and again leading off the eighth [even more boos].

The Angels also aroused the crowd’s displeasure when Phillips was caught trying to steal third in the third inning and Jorge Fabregas was thrown out at third after Edmonds’ fifth-inning single.

They managed to chase Royal starter Tom Gordon in the sixth, but only because Snow rapped a hard bouncer off his right shin. Gordon gave up four hits in 5 1/3 innings.


Hudler won back the crowd’s favor in the eighth, but it was only a momentary respite from their woes. Edmonds led off the ninth with a single to right against reliever Jeff Montgomery and advanced to third on groundouts by Phillips and Snow.

Salmon made it a one-run game with a single to left, but pinch-hitter Eduardo Perez popped out to first to end the game.