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It Gets Better for Candelaria in 6-2 Victory

July 31, 1986|GENE WOJCIECHOWSKI | Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND — About the last thing John Candelaria wanted when he began Wednesday's game against the Oakland A's, was to pick up where he had left off.

But there he was, allowing three consecutive first-inning singles, watching two runs score before an out was made and perhaps beginning to wonder if maybe the doctors hadn't missed a tendon or something when they operated on his elbow in April.

Wasn't this too much like his last start, when he allowed five runs in fewer than five innings and saw his earned-run average take a flying leap?

Yes, Candelaria must have decided, it was.

To prove his displeasure, Candelaria lasted six more innings, his longest stay of the season, and did it in style. And the Angels thanked him with a 6-2 victory.

"When (Candelaria) went out there the second inning, his demeanor was all different," Angel Manager Gene Mauch said. "It looked like he was about half mad."

The three straight singles in the first had done that. Tony Phillips hit a line drive to right and moved to second when Alfredo Griffin did the same thing. Up came rookie Jose Canseco, who, though never having faced Candelaria, hit a changeup to center, scoring Phillips and later Griffin, who made it home when Gary Pettis' throw bounced past Candelaria and catcher Bob Boone.

"The thing was, I was just trying to keep the team in the game," Candelaria said. "After the first inning, I thought it was going to be a long day. I thought that if I wanted to stay out here any longer, I better start getting people out."

So he did. Three straight outs in the second. Three straight in the third. A single and a hit batsman marred the fourth, but after that, Candelaria allowed only a fifth-inning single before retiring the next six Oakland hitters.

His final out was his own diving catch of Mickey Tettleton's seventh-inning foul ball in front of the Angel dugout. As he ran for the ball, Candelaria's cap flew off and every step seemed to be a struggle. It ended with the catch and then a half somersault of sorts.

"It's hard to pick up these size 14s," Candelaria said, referring to his feet.

Donnie Moore replaced Candelaria and earned his 12th save--his fourth in five games--but only after the A's had loaded the bases in the eighth and had runners on first and second in the ninth.

Candelaria sat in the clubhouse during all of this, icing down a stiff elbow. "It's still early in the race," he said. "It makes no sense to be a hero when you have a horse like Moore out there."

A night earlier, Mauch had tried four relievers in a futile attempt to stop what became a three-run inning for the A's. This time, he chose Moore and stayed with him.

A double play ended the troublesome eighth, and a ground ball to shortstop Dick Schofield provided the third out in the ninth and provided Candelaria with his fourth win in five decisions.

"I'm just trying to get the fear (about the elbow) out of the back of my mind," Candelaria said. "This was territory I haven't been in for a while. I thought I was struggling the whole day.

"I wanted to keep on going, but my arm said no."

Entering the game, Candelaria had received an average of almost seven runs of help each game. Wednesday he settled for six, which was plenty.

The Angels did their scoring in the last five innings. They nicked Oakland starter Jose Rijo for one run in the fifth when Rob Wilfong doubled and scored on Schofield's single to right. And they tied the score in the sixth when Jack Howell drove in Brian Downing from second with a single to center. Downing had singled to begin the inning and moved to second when Reggie Jackson walked.

Jackson also figured prominently in a three-run Angel eighth.

With one out, A's Manager Tony LaRussa decided to replace the right-handed Rijo with the left-handed Dave Leiper to face Jackson, who also is left-handed. Percentages and all that.

Jackson couldn't have been happier. He had struck out against Rijo in the first and fourth innings. "I hadn't put the ball in play," he said.

This time, he singled up the middle. LaRussa later defended his decision by saying that Rijo had thrown about 140 pitches and that he didn't want to risk injuring his pitcher.

So the Angels picked on Leiper instead. Doug DeCinces, who started the day on the bench, got a pinch-hit double to right-center, driving in Jackson from first. Jackson had planned to stop at third, but when center fielder Mike Davis bobbled the ball, Jackson kept running toward home.

With first base open, the A's intentionally walked pinch-hitter George Hendrick. Doug Bair was summoned from the A's bullpen, and he promptly walked pinch-hitter Bobby Grich, unintentionally loading the bases.

Bair didn't get any better. He walked Schofield, forcing in a run, and then watched his catcher, Tettleton, get thrown out for arguing with plate umpire Mark Johnson after the walk and Boone's sacrifice fly to left that scored Hendrick from third and increased the Angel lead to 5-2.

And DeCinces was at it again in the ninth, as he singled home Downing from second.

Angel Notes Reliever Terry Forster, left behind on the trip to Oakland, may also miss the series against the Seattle Mariners and the Minnesota Twins. Forster, who threw Wednesday and will throw again today, still is receiving treatment for his sprained right ankle. He has been on the disabled list since July 8. . . . Brian Downing was back in left field after missing Tuesday night's game. Downing, who has missed only four of the Angels' 100 games this season, is suffering from a persistent cough caused by bronchitis. Since July 4, when the bronchitis was diagnosed, Downing's average has dropped from .297 to .274. . . . Gary Pettis' fifth-inning steal of second base tied him with Sandy Alomar for the Angel record at 139.

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