The Angels and the Cleveland Indians made a mess of things again at Anaheim Stadium Wednesday night, slogging along with the grace and pace of primordial ooze.
After one hour, they were in the middle of the second inning.
After two hours, they had combined to score 14 runs--and still weren't out of the fifth inning.
After three hours, they paused for the seventh-inning stretch.
And after 3:43, the Angels had finally emerged as 10-7 winners in a game that fell four minutes shy of the club's record for lengthiest nine-inning game.
Having squandered leads of 3-1 and 7-2, the Angels broke a 7-7 tie in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run home run by Devon White and a wild pitch by Indian reliever Scott Bailes, scoring Wally Joyner from third.
The inning began, fittingly, with an error by Cory Snyder, who dropped a line drive by Dick Schofield in right field. Tuesday, as a shortstop, Snyder threw away two balls in one inning, paving the Angels' way to a 6-5 win.
Schofield scored in front of White's home run over the center field fence. Joyner scored the Angels' 10th run after singling and moving to third on another single by Brian Downing.
With those runs, the Angels made a winner of their newest pitcher, Greg Minton, who replaced starter John Candelaria in the sixth and worked four scoreless innings. Minton (1-0) allowed two singles and one walk, striking out four.
By the time the final out was recorded, with "The Tonight Show" approaching, the Angels had completed a 5-2 home stand to remain 5 1/2 games out a first place in the American League West, a position owned by the Minnesota Twins.
The weirdness started early. After Pat Tabler gave the Indians a 1-0 lead with a home run in the top of the first inning, Cleveland starter Tom Candiotti and the Angels settled in for a wild bottom of the first.
Candiotti got things rolling by walking leadoff hitter Gary Pettis and immediately balking him to second. Pettis then stole third.
One out later, Candiotti walked Joyner and Downing, loading the bases without allowing a hit. After Jack Howell singled home Pettis to tie the score, Candiotti's knuckleball really turned strange.
In fact, everything about the ensuing at-bat, which was shared by Doug DeCinces and Ruppert Jones, was strange. Indian catcher Chris Bando was cited for two passed balls before the out was recorded--one to DeCinces and one to Jones.
DeCinces was ejected from the game after the first, which home plate umpire Dale Ford ruled a strike. Initially, DeCinces didn't hear the call, instead following the path of the ball as it skidded away from Bando and waving Joyner home. When he turned around and saw an 0-and-2 count on the scoreboard, DeCinces lost control. He turned on Ford, yelling and cursing, and was thrown out of the game within seconds.
Angel Manager Gene Mauch sent up Jones as a replacement. Jones, inheriting the 0-and-2 count, eventually struck out--but not before another Candiotti knuckleball bounced in front and away from Bando, enabling Downing to score the third run of the inning.
After walking the next batter, Mark McLemore, Candiotti joined DeCinces. Cleveland Manager Pat Corrales replaced his starter with Rich Yett, who finally ended a 42-minute first inning by inducing Bob Boone to fly out to center field.
Cleveland got a run back in the third inning. Julio Franco singled and took third on a sharp one-hopper by Tabler that exploded on shortstop Schofield, bouncing through his legs. The play was originally ruled an error, which would have been his fifth of the season, but was later rescored an infield single.
Either way, it set up a run-scoring single for Joe Carter, who brought home Franco to cut the Angels' deficit to 3-2.
After an RBI double by Boone in the third inning, the Angels scored three times in the bottom of the fourth. Downing doubled, Howell walked and Jones scored both with a triple over the head of Cleveland's center fielder, Carter. Jones came in on a single by McLemore, giving the Angels a 7-2 advantage and bringing on the third Indian pitcher, Mike Armstrong.
Armstrong retired the side in the fourth, which set up of the top of fifth, which saw Cleveland topple Candelaria.
The Indians scored five times in the inning, the first run coming on a double by Cory Snyder and the next four on a game-tying grand slam by Tony Bernazard.
Tabler began the outburst with a one-out double, followed by an infield single by Carter. Snyder then doubled home Tabler.
After the second out, Brook Jacoby walked, loading the bases for Bernazard. And on the first pitch he saw, Bernazard, entering the game with a .215 batting average, deposited the ball into the seats just inside the left-field foul pole.