Doug DeCinces saw it coming. He watched as the Angels' young hitters closed out April with a flurry, averaging more than seven runs a game for more than a week. And after a 10-run effort against Milwaukee Tuesday, DeCinces warned of a time when the youngsters would look old and some veteran pitcher would come along to squeeze the life out of those lively bats.
Such a time came to pass Wednesday night.
Detroit's Dan Petry shut out the Angels for seven innings. He yielded a lone run in the eighth and then yielded to reliever Eric King, who pitched the Tigers into extra innings. There, they edged the Angels, 2-1, when Darnell Coles' game-winning hit flicked just in front of DeCinces' nose in the top of the 10th inning.
Coles, on the bench with a .136 batting average, came on to pinch-hit with runners on first and second and one out. For once, he got lucky.
Coles swung at a Donnie Moore pitch and squirted the ball down the third-base line. DeCinces lunged for it, but the ball struck the bag and skipped by his glove.
"It was a double-play ball," DeCinces said.
At least until it the hit the base. But once it did, Coles was able to score Larry Herndon from second, breaking a 1-1 tie with a bad-hop double and making a winner of King (2-1).
Moore (1-1) took the loss.
Because of that bouncing ball, the Angels squandered what was easily Don Sutton's best outing of the season--seven scoreless, four-hit innings before opening the eighth with a home-run pitch to Matt Nokes.
"That's about as good as Sutton, or anyone else for that matter, can pitch," Angel Manager Gene Mauch said. "It's a shame to waste that kind of pitching when you've been wanting it so badly the last 10 days."
DeCinces took no great delight in being proven correct in predicting that the rain of runs was going to stall.
"It doesn't surprise me when you've been around baseball as many years as I have," he said. "The last four or five days, we've scored all those runs, but it's nothing new for Petry to come in here and throw good."
Petry, 10-6 against the Angels during his career, and Sutton had pitched to a scoreless standoff for seven innings, but both wavered in the eighth.
Sutton had reached his 100-pitch limit with the third out of the sixth inning, but Mauch tried to press for more.
"The seven, eight and nine hitters were coming up, and I thought he could get through the lineup a third time," Mauch said.
It was a poor gamble. At 42, Sutton is like clockwork--and the alarm sounds once pitch No. 100 is thrown. On Sutton's 105th and final pitch of the evening, Nokes broke the tie with a home run, his third of the season.
At that point, Mauch made his move, bringing in Gary Lucas, who proceeded to retire the next three Tigers.
The Angels responded with one run in the bottom of the eighth. Mark McLemore walked, Brian Downing was hit by a pitch while attempting a bunt and that would be all for Petry. Detroit Manager Sparky Anderson summoned King, who gave up a fly out to left field by Wally Joyner. McLemore tagged on the play and advanced to third.
From there, McLemore scored on a single to center by Devon White. The Angels went on to load the bases with two outs, with King walking DeCinces, but Darrell Miller struck out on a full count, keeping the game tied at 1-1.
Through the first seven innings, the Angels got three baserunners as far as second base against Petry--and failed to get cash any of them into runs.
DeCinces went first. He walked with one out in the second inning and, after Miller flied out, stunned most everyone in Anaheim Stadium by stealing second base. It was DeCinces' fourth stolen base since 1984. Petry certainly never expected it, striding toward home plate with the pitch while DeCinces was already halfway to second.
This memorable moment soon was rendered meaningless, however, when Petry came back to strike out Dick Schofield to end the inning.
In the sixth, Downing led off with a single and was bunted to second. But there he stayed as Devon White popped out and Jack Howell flied to right.
But the Angels' worst example of waste came in the seventh inning. DeCinces opened with a ground-rule double and took third on a wild pitch. Go-ahead run on third base with no outs.
That brought up Miller, who squibbed a little one-hopper to Alan Trammell at shortstop. Then Schofield, who tapped out to Petry. And, finally, Gary Pettis, who grounded to second baseman Lou Whitaker.
Three cracks at bringing DeCinces home--and not one baseball out of the inning.
Detroit, though, was equally frustrated through seven innings, thanks largely to Sutton and Miller.
Miller, starting at catcher in place of the injured Butch Wynegar, took care of three them.
Miller was 3 for 3 in throwing out potential base stealers--catching Whitaker in the first inning, Trammell in the second and Darrell Evans in the seventh. Miller also fielded a sacrifice-bunt try by Evans and threw out Trammell, the lead runner, in the seventh inning.