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A. L. CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES : California vs. Boston : Flashback: 1979 and 1982 League Championship Series : 1979 vs. ORIOLES

October 06, 1986|Gene Wojciechowski | Times staff writer

GAME 1 Wednesday, Oct. 3 Memorial Stadium Orioles 6, Angels 3

The Angels were done in by Earl Weaver's fascination with statistics.

With the score tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the 10th, the Baltimore manager had to find a pinch-hitter to face Angel reliever John Montague. He looked through the file cards that he keeps on each player but couldn't find Montague's name. Finally, someone found the card in the Seattle Mariner file. Once retrieved, Weaver came up with the appropriate hitter: John Lowenstein.

Lowenstein was 2 for 2 with a home run against Montague. Weaver sent him to the plate.

Naturally, Lowenstein hit a three-run homer to beat the Angels and give the Orioles a 1-0 series lead. The homer traveled all of 312 feet or so down the left-field line. "He hit it good enough," Montague said.

Oriole Jim Palmer and Angel Nolan Ryan had started the game. Ryan had a 2-0 lead entering the bottom of the third, courtesy of a two-run homer by Dan Ford. But Ryan allowed two runs in the inning and another run in the fourth. He left after seven innings with the score tied.

"I had good stuff," Ryan said. "I couldn't do anything with it."

Palmer left after nine innings, replaced by Don Stanhouse. Stanhouse got the victory by pitching one inning and having the assistance of Weaver's file.

GAME 2 Thursday, Oct. 4 Memorial Stadium Orioles 9, Angels 8

Down, 9-1, by the end of the third inning, the Angels made a comeback and came as close as having the bases loaded and the tying run on third with Brian Downing at the plate in the ninth.

But Downing grounded to Oriole third baseman Doug DeCinces, who tagged Dan Ford for the final out.

The Orioles chose to intentionally walk Don Baylor to face Downing. The matchup was this: Downing vs. reliever Don Stanhouse.

"You've got a guy with 140 RBIs (actually 139) and I've been getting jammed for two games," Downing said. "There's no question who you're going to pitch to.

"I had a 1-0 count; I was looking for the right pitch. It was a nice slider, out over the plate, a little bit up. I saw it up high. I gotta go for it. That's really my strength.

"I thought I had it. Uh-uh. A topper. Another damn topper. That's what irritated me. I have to hit that ball hard. I have all year. . . . The only guy who's been screwing up on offense is myself."

Downing wasn't entirely to blame for the loss. Angel pitching and defense were suspect. Dave Frost, the Angel starter, was gone before the end of the second. Mark Clear came in and later allowed a homer to Eddie Murray.

The Angels scored a second run in the sixth, another in the seventh, three in the eighth and two more in the ninth. Then came Downing's grounder and that was that.

GAME 3 Friday, Oct. 5, Anaheim Stadium Angels 4, Orioles 3

Larry Harlow delivered a ninth-inning, one-out RBI double that helped give the Angels the victory.

The Angels had help from an unusual source: outfielder Al Bumbry.

With Baltimore leading, 3-2, and runners at first and second and one out in the ninth, Bobby Grich drove a pitch by Don Stanhouse to center. Bumbry raced toward the ball.

Rod Carew, who was heading to third on the play, remembers wondering if he had made the right move. Was Bumbry going to catch the ball and double him off second?

"I turned around and saw (Bumbry) right there and I said, 'Oh well, have a good winter,' " Carew said.

But Bumbry dropped the ball, allowing Carew to score and tie the score, 3-3. Later came Harlow's RBI double down the left-field line.

"I had a great chance to catch (Grich's ball)," Bumbry said. "The ball got there, I got there, I didn't catch it."

GAME 4 Saturday, Oct. 6 Anaheim Stadium Orioles 8, Angels 0 The Angels and Manager Jim Fregosi were eliminated from the playoffs, but it took what has become Doug DeCinces' favorite defensive play to do it.

The Orioles had taken a 3-0 lead midway through the fifth inning when the Angels loaded the bases with just one out. Jim Anderson hit a changeup from Scott McGregor sharply toward the left-field line.

At the last moment, DeCinces, playing third for the Orioles, caught the ball as it caromed off the infield dirt. DeCinces hooked third base with his foot, regained his balance and threw to first in time for an rally-ending double play. Essentially, end of game, end of series.

"It was completely a reaction," DeCinces said. "I came up with the ball and a handful of dirt. When I threw the ball, I couldn't even see it. It was the play that turned us around. It was the play Scotty (McGregor) needed. If the ball is by me, it's at least two runs and Carew is coming up."

Said Fregosi: "If (DeCinces) doesn't make that play, it's a whole different situation."

The Angels went through five pitchers and remained close until the seventh inning, when Baltimore scored five runs.

1982 vs. BREWERS GAME 1 Tuesday, Oct. 5 Anaheim Stadium Angels 8, Brewers 3 Tommy John limited the Brewers to seven hits and designated hitter Don Baylor, whose future with the team was uncertain, drove in five runs to give the Angels an easy victory.

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