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Angels Turn Another Lead Into 7-6 Loss

May 09, 1986|GENE WOJCIECHOWSKI | Times Staff Writer

On an evening when everything went right except the final score, the Angels and Ron Romanick must be wondering what it takes to win a game around here.

For the second time in as many starts, Romanick left a game with a lead, only to watch it spring a slow leak and slip surely away. This time a three-run Angel margin became a 7-6 Angel loss Thursday night at Anaheim Stadium.

Last weekend at Milwaukee, Romanick, still 2-1 after six starts, left the game in the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead. The Brewers scored two runs in the ninth and another in the 10th to beat the Angels and bullpen ace Donnie Moore. Romanick reacted calmly enough, pointing out later that the game is sometimes like that, that the bullpen has saved him plenty of times.

Then the same sort of thing happened Thursday night, except this time Romanick was partly to blame for the Angel troubles. He faltered a bit in the fifth inning, allowing the Blue Jays two more runs. Still, a 5-4 lead was his as the Angels replaced him in the sixth with Terry Forster.

That was before the Blue Jays scored three runs in the seventh and dropped the Angels (16-13) into a tie with the Oakland A's for first place in the Western Division.

"It's a shame," Forster said. "This guy battled his (bleep) off and has a lead like that. . . . he shouldn't have ended up losing it. I hope (Mauch) puts me back in there tomorrow so I can get some sleep.

"I can't remember the last time I gave up three runs in one inning," he said. "I think it was 1978. If I was throwing (lousy) that would be one thing, but I had too good stuff for that. I just made two mistakes."

No. 1 would be a pitch that hit Lloyd Moseby to begin the seventh, followed later by No. 2, a two-run single by Buck Martinez.

"I'm not happy with the seventh inning," Manager Gene Mauch said. "I kind of lost the handle on the game when Terry hit Moseby. I didn't want to bring Donnie into a tie game."

Also wasted was a Wally Joyner grand slam that soared into the second deck of the right-centerfield seats. It was his ninth home run of the season. Back then, the Angels owned a 5-2 fourth-inning lead.

Joyner's slam was only the seventh by a rookie in Angel history and only the second since 1965. Joyner went 2 for 4 Thursday, and his four runs batted in tied him with Oakland's Jose Canseco and New York's Don Mattingly for the major league RBI lead (26).

And the Angels also were relatively healthy, which is a change of sorts. Brian Downing was back in left field, and Doug DeCinces was back at third base. Both players had missed Wednesday night's game.

The night began nicely for Romanick. He recorded four straight outs, and everything was going along just fine until George Bell, who entered the game hitting .347, doubled to right in the second. Jesse Barfield walked, and both runners advanced on a Romanick wild pitch that bounced off the ground and catcher Bob Boone's chest protector. Ernie Whitt hit a fly to left that scored Bell. Rick Leach, in the lineup because of an ankle injury to regular designated hitter Cliff Johnson, doubled to drive in Barfield. Tony Fernandez singled, but Leach stopped at third. Damaso Garcia flew out to right to end the inning, but the Blue Jays had a 2-0 lead.

Then it was Toronto starter Jim Acker's turn to have troubles. First, he struck out Dick Schofield. Acker probably thought, correctly enough, that would be all he would see of Schofield in the third inning.

But Boone singled, and Aker walked Ruppert Jones and Rob Wilfong to load the bases and set the stage for Joyner. Joyner belted Acker's 1-1 pitch and took his time leaving the batter's box. Why not? It was worth watching.

Joyner arrived to the dugout but stayed only momentarily as the Anaheim Stadium audience called for his return to the field. Joyner resisted until teammates playfully pushed him up the dugout steps.

Reggie Jackson ended a 2-for-23 stretch with a single and scored on a double by George Hendrick. That was all for Acker, who was replaced by rookie Mark Eichhorn. And sure enough, up stepped Schofield, who ended the Blue Jay misery by grounding out to Eichhorn.

Angel Notes Outfielder Gary Pettis received a two-game suspension for his part in a bumping incident with umpire John Shulock in Toronto May 1. Pettis will miss tonight's and tomorrow's games against the Milwaukee Brewers. He could have appealed the ruling by the American League office but chose not to. "To me, it's not that big of a deal," he said. "I know what the rules are and the cause for the suspension, so I'm going to abide by what has been placed on me. It's something I don't think anybody really wanted to have happen to them. It's over with now." Pettis, who was involved recently in two collisions with Brian Downing and missed Wednesday night's game, along with Downing, could have been ready to play by today, Manager Gene Mauch said.

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