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Schofield Turns On Angels' Power : Joyner, DeCinces Also Homer; McCaskill Has 2-Hitter, 5-1

April 23, 1986|MIKE PENNER | Times Staff Writer

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Angels as their .167-hitting shortstop, Dick Schofield, stood in the on-deck circle Tuesday night, confounded by a bat that wouldn't dislodge itself from the weighted metal doughnut.

Schofield pounded and pounded, striking the nob of the bat against the ground, but the doughnut wouldn't budge. Bob Boone lent a not-so-helpful hand. Reggie Jackson climbed up the dugout steps to take a whack at it with another bat.

No go.

Finally, Jackson grabbed Schofield's bat, disappeared into the dugout and returned, at last handing the bat, weightless, to its user. With that as a prelude, Schofield stepped up to face Oakland starter Rick Langford in the third inning.

Of such humble beginnings are Angel victories created these days.

In a matter of moments, Schofield went from 98-pound weakling to hulk, jerking Langford's third pitch over the right-field fence for a home run. Wally Joyner and Doug DeCinces soon followed suit and, with Kirk McCaskill settling in to complete a two-hitter, the Angels defeated the Oakland A's, 5-1, before an Anaheim Stadium crowd of 24,351.

Schofield's wasn't the only impressive delayed reaction of the night for the Angels. McCaskill had the first two-hitter of his career and struck out 12, a career high, but nearly needed a jump start to get out of the early innings.

McCaskill's first six pitches were balls. He walked two of the first four batters he faced.

But a third-inning single by Alfredo Griffin and a sixth-inning double by Mickey Tettleton were the only hits the A's could scrape together against McCaskill (2-1), who has beaten Oakland for both of his victories.

"That's probably the best stuff I've had in the big leagues," said McCaskill, 12-12 as a rookie in 1985. "But I wish I could cut down on the walks. After the first inning, I'm saying--'Man, I am struggling early again. I just hope we get enough runs to win.' "

McCaskill also staggered at the outset of his first two starts. He gave up two first-inning runs in a 9-3 victory in Oakland. He allowed seven hits and three runs in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota last week.

But McCaskill righted himself quickly this time.

"I went at them with just fastballs and curves," he said. "I had enough zip and bite on pitches to get away with it."

The top six batters in the Oakland lineup were testimony to that. Each struck out at least once. Mike Davis struck out three times, with Dwayne Murphy, Dave Kingman and Carney Lansford all checking in with two strikeouts.

McCaskill also walked five, but the Angels defense bailed him out, Boone throwing out Phillips on a stolen-base attempt and the infield turning two double plays.

Oakland scored its only run in the sixth after Griffin led off with a walk and was doubled home by Tettleton. Tony Phillips reached base on a third-strike wild pitch and one out later, Jose Canseco walked to load the bases.

But McCaskill struck out Kingman and Davis to end the threat, the only real noise the A's could manage.

"After he struck out Kingman and Davis," Oakland Manager Jackie Moore said, "the game was his."

Said Angel Manager Gene Mauch: "Those are things young pitchers have to learn. I know this much--him and Boone had one inning of work and eight innings of fun."

Mauch had some fun with Schofield's aggravations with the Doughnut That Wouldn't Die. After Schofield had failed to fix it and Jackson's services had been enlisted, Mauch handed Jackson two sheets of paper.

"Give him this," Mauch said with a laugh. "These are instructions on how those work."

Removing the weight was the hard part for Schofield. "He got it off . . . and he got it out," Mauch said.

The Angels ganged up on Langford (0-2) immediately after Schofield's home run. That gave the Angels a 1-0 lead after three innings, which they expanded to 5-0 before their first out in the fifth.

With one out in the fourth inning, Joyner homered to center field, bringing the rookie's big league ledger to four. Jackson followed with a single and, one out later, DeCinces delivered his third home run of the season.

Schofield caused more problems from Langford in the fifth, beating out an infield single to open the inning. Boone drew a walk, and that was the end for Langford.

On came reliever Bill Krueger, who could locate the strike zone all right but had trouble with second base. Gary Pettis tapped one back to Krueger, who spun and threw wildly in an attempt to force Boone at second. Schofield scored on the error, handing the Angels their fifth and final run.

Krueger retired the last 11 batters he faced as the Angels settled for a total of six hits. They made the most of them.

Once, that is, they solved the mystery of the batting doughnut.

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