Eight Is More Than Enough for Angels
Angel center fielder Rex Hudler is beginning to feel self-conscious about the spotlight, so he seemed relieved to be able to share it with a few friends during Saturday night’s 8-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles before 35,350 in Anaheim Stadium.
Shawn Boskie gave up seven hits in eight innings to win his third consecutive start, and shortstop Gary DiSarcina--remember him, the 1995 all-star, the guy who used to be able to field and hit?--added four hits, including a three-run homer, as the Angels ran their winning streak to four.
The victory pushed the Angels (27-26) above .500 for the first time since May 12 and marked the first time in a week--despite winning five of their last seven games--that they gained ground on Texas, moving to within 6 1/2 games of the first-place Rangers.
It also nudged Hudler away from the center of attention.
“Let DiSar have the show, let him get some ink,” said Hudler, who went three for five, scored a run and made a leaping grab of Rafael Palmeiro’s second-inning drive at the wall.
“It’s June 1 and I’m out of quotes. I’m so happy Gary whacked some balls tonight. He was the man.”
DiSarcina, who hit .307 in 1995, had forgotten what that was like. He took a .207 average into the game and had only four hits in his last 25 at-bats, but he matched that total Saturday.
DiSarcina began the Angels’ eight-run third inning with a single off Oriole starter and loser Jimmy Haynes and topped it off with a three-run homer to left field, his first home run since last July 15.
“I’ve been trying to tell myself the whole year to keep grinding it out, keep grinding it out, forget about the first month and the past failures and try to do something little each day,” DiSarcina said.
“I never expected a game like this, but it just sort of happened as the night went along. I had more production in one inning than I had in the last three weeks.”
DiSarcina, the Angels’ No. 9 hitter, had three RBIs in his last 10 games, a span of just under two weeks, and credited lead-off batter Hudler--who else?--as a contributor to Saturday’s outburst.
“The reason I got some good pitches to hit was because Rex was hitting behind me,” DiSarcina said. “He’s the Oriole killer.”
Hudler, who had five runs batted in against the Orioles on Friday night, had another big game, which is beginning to seem routine. In six games this week, Hudler went 13 for 25 (.520) with two homers and seven RBIs.
In his last 22 games, Hudler is batting .395 (32 for 81) with 23 runs, five doubles, eight homers and 17 RBIs. He is growing more uncomfortable by the day.
“Deep down, it’s embarrassing,” Hudler said of all the attention. “Baseball is a team game, and I’m successful because the team’s successful.
“If I was a tennis player and was ranked No. 1 in the world, and I was rocking and dealing, sure, I’d feel pretty good about myself. But right now I’m just a small part of the team.”
Hudler followed DiSarcina’s single in the third inning with a single, and that jump-started the Angels’ third-inning outburst, which included Tim Salmon’s two-run double and RBI singles by Don Slaught and Randy Velarde.
The eight-run inning was a season high for the Angels and had owner Jackie Autry so excited she was dancing in her private box to the Village People’s “YMCA.”
Baltimore tagged Boskie for three runs in the fifth inning, but he held the Orioles scoreless over the next three innings before giving way to Mike James, who finished.