The Angels prepared to defend their half-game lead in the American League West Tuesday night by devoting considerable energy to discussions of Commissioner Peter Ueberroth's plea for voluntary drug testing.
There was even a brief meeting to allow General Manager Mike Port to expand on the proposal.
The whole business brought complaints from the Angels, who criticized the commissioner's timing and said their focus--as well as that of the other teams still fighting for division titles--should now be on winning rather than drugs.
If the Angels' focus had been distorted by the events preceding their 151st game, they didn't get much to focus on while facing the sleight-of-hand artist named Tom Seaver.
The Chicago right-hander permitted only seven hits and one run in seven innings of an 8-1 win that left Angel Manager Gene Mauch complaining about his own focus in regard to a pivotal decision in the third inning, when the game was still scoreless.
There was solace for Mauch and the Angels, however, in that their second straight loss to Chicago did not deprive them of their thin division lead over Kansas City. The Royals lost in Seattle, their 10th straight defeat to the Mariners.
The White Sox moved within 6 1/2 games of the Angels with a 13-hit attack that included three RBIs by Carlton Fisk, who slugged a two-run homer in the fifth and blooped an RBI double in the seventh.
The homer was Fisk's 36th of the year and 32nd as a catcher, tying the league record set in 1982 by Detroit's Lance Parrish. The three RBIs gave him 100, the first time he has reached that plateau since 1977 and only the second time in his career.
The home run came off John Candelaria, the double off Kirk McCaskill, who tuned up for his start Sunday in Cleveland by yielding two runs in the seventh.
Candelaria, who had won four straight starts and defeated Seaver and the White Sox, 8-0, last Thursday in Chicago, yielded six runs and eight hits in six innings, suffering his second defeat against six wins.
An Anaheim Stadium crowd of 28,864 saw Seaver, who had been 1-3 with three no-decisions since registering his 300th win on Aug. 4, improve his record to 14-11. He walked none and struck out eight, including Reggie Jackson three times. Jackson also struck out a fourth time against Dave Wehrmeister, who pitched a flawless ninth after Jerry Don Gleaton pitched a flawless eighth.
"We didn't get too much production from the DH spot tonight, did we?" Jackson said later. "A guy yelled at me from behind the dugout after the last strikeout, 'Jackson you're a bum.' All I could do was this (he shrugged). Tonight I guess he was right."
The Angels scored only on a double by Daryl Sconiers and single by Brian Downing in the sixth. Mauch accepted some of the blame.
The Angels had Bob Boone at third and Dick Schofield at first with one out in the third. The count was 2 and 2 on Gary Pettis. Mauch called for a squeeze, looking for an early lead in a scoreless game. Pettis missed the bunt attempt, striking out. Boone was almost at the plate, and was easily doubled, ending the inning.
"I completely misread the game," Mauch said. "I completely messed up. I'm looking at Candelaria and Seaver and thinking it's going to be 2-1 or 3-2. I want to try and start building it up for us, but I helped build it up for them, though there's not a human being alive who can throw a ball over the plate that can't be bunted, that can't be touched by the bat."
This was something of a shot at Pettis, who hasn't had to worry about bunting while hitting .363 in September.
There was also a pivotal decision by Mauch in a four-run fourth. Scott Fletcher opened the inning with a double. There was one out when Fisk was hit by a pitch. Ron Kittle doubled in the game's first run. Mauch then loaded the bases by ordering an intentional walk to Jerry Hairston, a right-handed hitter who has 17 RBIs.
Mauch wanted Candelaria to face the left-handed-hitting Greg Walker, who had 84 RBIs. Walker, who had grounded into a double play in the second, made it 86 RBIs by slashing a ground single to center, just out of the reach of second baseman Bobby Grich.
"Candy pitched for the ground ball and got it," Mauch said. "It just wasn't where Grich could get it."
Candelaria said the blame for that decisive inning was his. He thought he had a 2 and 2 strike out of Fletcher, but didn't get the call.
"I let it get to me," he said. "I lost my temper and, as a result, lost my head. I blew the whole inning.
"It may not look like it in the standings, but this was my loss and not the team's."
Seattle helped relieve the frustration of it.
Rod Carew was at the park and in uniform but did not play because of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. . . . Ron Romanick (13-8) faces Britt Burns (18-9) in tonight's regular-season home stand finale.