The Angels finally went to work on their devastated pitching staff Wednesday.
But that was only after the Oakland A's had also gone to work on it.
Coming back from their 15-hit, four-homer assault of Tuesday night, the A's scored three unearned runs in the first inning Wednesday, added three of the legitimate variety in the third and held off the Angels for a 6-4 victory.
An Anaheim Stadium crowd of 26,080 saw the A's, now 9-6 and a game ahead of the Angels in the American League West, collect 12 more hits, nine off Ron Romanick in the first three innings.
Rod Carew's boot of Dave Collins' game-opening grounder and Bob Boone's failure to hold the ball on a potential out at the plate helped the A's put Romanick and the Angels in an early hole, after which a third-inning homer by Dwayne Murphy, a double by Mike Davis, who had singled home a run in the first, and a single by Donnie Hill led to the runs that proved decisive.
Manager Gene Mauch mentioned that Romanick (2-1) responded to a beleaguered bullpen's need for a day of rest in his first two starts, saying: "Three times in a row we've asked him to keep it under control. Twice he was outstanding. Today, he was better than the score indicates."
Of the three unearned runs in the first, Mauch said: "I know nobody missed a wake-up call because they were all here, but we suddenly couldn't play catch in the first inning.
"If that game right there is as good as we can play, I'd be nervous. But I know it's not, so we'll be OK."
That, of course, depends on the pitching.
In the wake of Wednesday's game, the Angels announced that:
--Luis Sanchez, carrying a 14.04 earned-run average in five appearances, was being put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained neck he suffered when he reportedly slipped and hit the back of his head on the edge of a swimming pool in Venezuela last winter.
--Bob Kipper, the 20-year-old rookie with a 21.60 ERA after two appearances, was being optioned to Midland of the Texas League.
--Rookie pitchers Stu Cliburn and Rafael Lugo were being recalled from Edmonton.
General Manager Mike Port also said he has been discussing some potential trades but wouldn't predict that any would be made.
"So far, we've only been offered guys who are comparable to the No. 10 pitchers on their respective staffs," he said.
It was originally expected that the Angels would keep Kipper until Ken Forsch leaves the disabled list. Forsch will throw a five-inning simulated game Friday.
Then, if 100%, Forsch will make his season debut either Tuesday against Boston or Wednesday against Toronto. Either Lugo or Cliburn will be returned to Edmonton when Forsch is activated.
"Rather than tough it out for four or five more days, we wanted to do something that would help keep the staff together now," Port said. "We're shooting to win tomorrow night."
Asked if he regretted waiting so long to make the move with the hapless Sanchez, Port said:
"Yes, and I'll take the responsibility for that. Luis was agreeable to going out there and making every effort he could. There was a variance in the severity of his injury. Some days he was better than others. But watching him Tuesday night we decided he wasn't getting sufficiently better. He couldn't pivot. He couldn't throw his fastball with the required velocity. We decided to shut him down before it became more serious than it already is."
The Angels left for Seattle Wednesday night with other concerns as well. They aren't certain that Geoff Zahn will be able to start Friday night because of the lingering tendinitis in his left shoulder. If he can't pitch, he will be replaced by Tommy John, providing John has recovered from the stiff neck that prevented him from starting Tuesday night.
If neither John nor Zahn can make it, the start will go to Lugo, who had a spring ERA of 6.75.
The Angels got 3 shutout innings of relief from Pat Clements and Donnie Moore Wednesday, but the damage had been done.
"We came in flat and the A's continued where they left off (Tuesday night)," Romanick said. "I didn't make the pitches early and we didn't make the plays. It's a different story if we get out of those two innings with one run instead of three."
The Angels got only five hits but got back into the game when A's starter Chris Codiroli, hit on the right foot by Carew's line drive in the third, walked Juan Beniquez to open the fourth and was replaced by Steve McCatty. McCatty issued two more walks before Brian Downing singled to make it 6-2.
Another single by Downing and a triple by Dick Schofield helped get the Angels to within two in the seventh. Jay Howell ultimately protected that final margin by striking out Dick Schofield and Jerry Narron with two on in the ninth, sending the Angels on the road with a 4-5 record in their not-so-magic kingdom.