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A Memorial Day: Angels Victorious in Baltimore, 6-5 : California Beats Orioles for 2nd Time in 11 Games

August 30, 1987|MIKE PENNER | Times Staff Writer

BALTIMORE — Angel motor skills shifted into reverse Saturday, with Bob Boone becoming a base-running hero and Devon White standing still, which all seemed to make sense on a day when the Angels broke out of their most tedious routine--losing to the Baltimore Orioles.

For the first time this season, the Angels won a game at Memorial Stadium, beating Baltimore, 6-5, and ending a nine-game losing streak against the Orioles that began in May. The Angels are 1-4 at Memorial Stadium and 2-9 against Baltimore in 1987, so this sort of thing doesn't happen often.

The Angels marked the occasion in their own special way.

Boone, the 38-year old catcher who was nicknamed Seattle Slow during his days in Philadelphia, scored the Angels' fifth and sixth runs after legging out a double in the sixth inning and then beating out an infield single--the ultimate in rarities--in the eighth.

"I was flying," quipped Boone, who drove in two runs with two doubles and a single. "Gene (Mauch, Angel manager) gave me four innings off yesterday, so my legs were rested. I decided to open it up a little bit."

Boone's second double, which brought home Tony Armas from second, was a line drive into the gap in right-center field, requiring Boone to gamble on the play and hustle to beat the throw to second.

Two innings later, Boone cued a dribbler off the end of his bat toward the left side of the mound and third baseman Ray Knight, and outran Knight's throw to first base. Boone advanced to second on an infield out and scored the decisive run Ruppert Jones' single to center field.

"My last infield single?" Boone asked, repeating a reporter's question. "It came long before I can remember. I think I average about one every three years. It takes three years to get my legs ready for it."

Boone's speed is seldom a consideration in any Angel game, but it became significant when the fastest Angel, White, misjudged a fly ball about as badly as an outfielder can.

Some outfielders get a poor jump on a fly ball. Some turn the wrong way.

White didn't even run after this one. In fact, he didn't even walk.

When the Orioles' Larry Sheets opened the sixth inning with a deep drive to right-center, White, assuming the ball was out of the park, simply stood at his center-field position and watched it.

Seconds later, he watched it bounce off the outfield fence--possibly a catchable ball if White had been there.

Instead, Sheets had a double. It started a three-run inning that enabled the Orioles to erase a 5-2 deficit.

"I'm sure this is the most embarrassing day of his life in baseball," Mauch said of White. "You know he was pulling like hell for our pitchers to get out of that inning without a run."

So was White embarrassed?

"I don't want to talk about that one," said White, who did anyway. "It was a weak effort on my part.

"It's not like I didn't see the ball. It looked like a home run, but then it took a U-turn."

Could White have caught the ball if he had given proper chase?

"It's tough to say," White said.

Mauch, however, watched White haul down the game's final out--a prodigious drive by Eddie Murray to the center-field wall--and drew this comparison:

"I'll tell you this much--Eddie Murray hit his ball a lot harder than (Sheets). He (White) didn't misread the wind the second time."

Not until White retreated to the outer reaches of Memorial Stadium to catch Murray's fly were the Angels assured of victory.

"I thought it was out," said Angel reliever Willie Fraser (8-8), the winning pitcher. "I said, 'Geez, not again.'

"I knew there was a strong wind blowing, and the ball was hit to the middle of the field, so I just kept watching Devo go back and back. When he caught it, it was a big relief."

And no Angel was more relieved than Mauch, whose team lost 10 of 14 games before Saturday.

"That ball was kissed," Mauch said. "The wind was nice."

Mauch thought about what he said and wanted to revise his spelling.

"Take the 'D' off it," he said. "The win was nice, too."

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