It was not an easy night for a hitter to distinguish himself in Anaheim Stadium Monday, except perhaps by not hitting. But in the midst of a four-home run, seven-double, 21-hit affair, Doug DeCinces' 3 for 4 night with three RBIs and a walk managed to stand out.
It was a modest performance in the context of the Texas Rangers' 9-7 victory over the Angels, in which Texas' Pete Incaviglia homered in successive at-bats, finishing 3 for 4 with three RBIs. But DeCinces' night at the plate stood out because the RBIs and the extra-base hits lately had been coming all too rarely.
DeCinces hit a three-run homer in the first, added a double in the sixth and beat out a bunt for a single in the ninth. He walked in the second and grounded out in the fourth.
Before Monday, DeCinces, who along with Brian Downing was expected to provide much of the Angels power this year after the departures of Reggie Jackson and Bobby Grich, was batting .209 with six home runs.
He hadn't hit a home run since May 3, when he hit a grand slam at Boston, had no RBIs since June 1 and only three since May 20.
Despite batting in the middle of the lineup, he had driven in only 24 runs, tying him for fifth place on the Angel RBI list behind Wally Joyner, Downing, Devon White and Jack Howell, and tied with Dick Schofield. Over his last 34 games, he was batting .155 (18 for 116).
But in Sunday's 12-0 victory over Kansas City, DeCinces went 3 for 4 with a double, his first extra-base hit since June 1. Monday, with Devon White and Downing on base after walking, DeCinces hit Mike Jeffcoat's 2-1 pitch over the left-field field fence. He was stranded by a fly out after his two-out double in the sixth. After the game, his average improved to .220
"I haven't been hitting enough and I haven't been getting any RBIs, but I got some tonight." said DeCinces, cautious to speculate as to whether this signals a change. "We'll find out about that tomorrow (today)," he said.
Admittedly, DeCinces' homer came off a less-than-formidable opponent. Jeffcoat lasted only of an inning, allowing four runs on two hits and three walks. So did DeCinces' first homer in a 1 1/2 months come just because of good fortune or because he's coming out of a bad hitting spell?
"You want me to say it was pure luck or you want me to say I'm coming around?" DeCinces said. "I'll know tomorrow."
For his part, DeCinces looks at his recent lack of hitting as something that has seemed to come and go, season in and season out in his 14 years in the major leagues.
"I always seem to do this every year," he said. "It's not something I like to do. I don't appreciate burying myself and having to dig out."