YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Active Angel Old-Timer Hits 511th Homer : Rookie Lugo Gets Help From the Veterans in 3-1 Win Over White Sox By

June 17, 1985|JOHN WEYLER | Times Staff Writer

There was an Old-timers' Day game at Anaheim Stadium Sunday and one of the teams had a 39-year-old pitcher (Tom Murphy), a 39-year-old catcher (Tom Egan) and a 40-year-old infielder (Syd O'Brien).

Then the Angels and the Chicago White Sox squared off in a major league contest and one team had a 39-year-old designated hitter (Reggie Jackson), a 37-year-old catcher (Bob Boone) and three infielders 34 or older (Bobby Grich, Doug DeCinces and Juan Beniquez).

The Angels of the '70s beat the Angels of the '60s in the exhibition game and then those old-timers of the 1980s showed they still had a little punch left, collecting eight of the Angels' 10 hits and accounting for all their runs in a 3-1 win over Chicago in front of 40,212.

Jackson hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. It was No. 511, tying him for 12th on the all-time list with Mel Ott.

While the veterans were proving they still belong in the main event, the Angel youth movement was also getting a huge boost from a 22-year-old rookie right-hander named Urbano Lugo.

Lugo, who made his first start last Tuesday and left after four innings with a blood blister on his middle finger, allowed just four hits and struck out nine in eight innings. The only thing hurting this time was the White Sox's batting averages.

Lugo (1-1), a native of Caracas, Venezuela, is hoping to become the fourth Angel pitcher in five years to make the jump from Class AA ball to the majors, joining Mike Witt, Ron Romanick and Pat Clements.

The outing was a special Father's Day tribute of sorts. Lugo's dad is considered to be one of the finest pitchers in Venezuelan baseball history. But it also meant a great deal to Angel Manager Gene Mauch, who has been hurting for starting pitchers.

Lugo was one of the players most frequently mentioned in recent trade talks as the Angels attempted to deal for a starter. If he continues to locate his 90 m.p.h. fastball and off-speed forkball as he did Sunday, he may find a regular spot in the Angel rotation.

The Angels managed a split of the four-game series with the American League West-leading White Sox, who now lead the Angels by a half-game. And the Angels' spirits have been bouyed by fine back-to-back performances from rookies Kirk McCaskill and Lugo.

"We wanted to get a split at least, and considering we were 1-1 with our two kids going the last two games, you've got to be pleased," Mauch said.

Even more encouraging than the win was the performance. Lugo didn't allow a runner past second base until the ninth when Harold Baines opened the inning with a triple into the left-field corner, where Brian Downing almost made a spectacular catch.

"I wanted to finish the game but when Baines hits the triple, that's it for me," Lugo said. "It was a good move for me and the team and for Donnie (Moore), who gets the save."

Baines scored on Greg Walker's ground out to second and then Moore gave up a single to Carlton Fisk before getting Tom Paciorek to ground into a game-ending double play.

"The kid can smell blood when he gets close," Mauch said. "That last pitch he threw to Baines was 90 miles an hour, just as fast as he was throwing in the fifth and the third and the first. But he'd thrown 120 pitches at that point and that's what Donnie Moore is out there for."

Jackson is at designated hitter to drive in runs, but he only had three RBIs in more than a month prior to his fourth-inning shot to center Sunday. His last home run was May 11.

"If I can throw in a hit here or a hit there, I'm happy to help the club," Jackson said. "But you can't just sit there and say I'm out of the woods because of one homer. When I hit a fly ball good, I know it has a chance."

The Angels had a chance to blow the game open in the sixth after Jackson and Downing walked and Boone singled to score Jackson. Dick Schofield, moved up the leadoff spot, walked to load the bases and chase loser Tim Lollar (2-3). Dan Spillner came on to face Beniquez, who had two hits Sunday, and got lucky when Beniquez lined out to third.

The second chance to give Lugo a more comfortable margin came in the eighth when Grich and Downing opened the inning with singles to put runners on first and third. Boone hit a roller to first and Grich beat Walker's throw to the plate. Then Gary Pettis lined a single to left to load the bases. Schofield popped up and Beniquez grounded into a double play.

Mauch feels confident his hitters will respond. "I just know that's going to happen," he said.

And now he's also starting to believe that the best trades are the ones that don't happen.

Angel Notes

Los Angeles Times Articles