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White's Contributions Outweigh His Lapses

June 04, 1989|GENE WOJCIECHOWSKI | Times Staff Writer

Angel busybody Devon White had one of those rare nights when he didn't know whether to cherish or forget his contributions to a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals at Anaheim Stadium Saturday.

On the cherish side were White's three hits--two singles and a double--which helped push his average up to .299. He scored once. He flustered Royal starter Charlie Leibrandt into heaving a pickoff throw into foul territory. He stole a base, his 21st in a young season.

All in all, a perfectly wonderful evening until you recount White's pair of mid-game adventures.

For starters, he was caught stealing after one of those singles. Later, White tried snaring a sinking line drive off the grass blades. He missed and two Royal runs scored to tie the game.

So what to do: applaud or sadly shake your head?

Probably applaud; the Angels did.

Without White they wouldn't have had at least one of those four runs. The circumstances:

White singled between third and shortstop to begin the third inning. With 20 stolen bases already to White's credit, Leibrandt was obliged to keep an eye on him at first.

So he did, lobbing ball after ball to first baseman Pat Tabler, all in hopes of keeping White put.

It nearly worked. White had cut his lead down slightly when Leibrandt unleashed another throw in the general direction of Tabler.

But this time Tabler was shielded by White and the ball whizzed past his glove and into foul territory.

Meanwhile, White motored all the way to third base and later scored easily on Wally Joyner's single.

White was back at first in the fourth inning, too, courtesy of another ground ball single that scooted past shortstop Kurt Stillwell. This time he took his lead and was off as Leibrandt apparently began his motion toward home.

But wait. Leibrandt instead threw to Tabler at first, who threw to second in time to catch a surprised White.

"It's a balk," White said of Leibrandt's move. "I still think it's a balk. His motion was going toward the plate."

If it was, none of the four umpires objected. In the scorebook, White's attempt simply went down as a caught stealing.

With two outs in the sixth, White was again the center of attention. With Kevin Seitzer on second and the fleet-footed Bo Jackson on first, Tabler hit a line drive toward mid-center field. White charged.

"I went after that ball because I thought we could get out of the inning," he said. "I thought I (had it), but then the ball really dipped."

A possible out suddenly became a sure-fire double as the ball bounced in front of White and then off his glove toward right field. Dante Bichette retrieved the ball and threw toward home, but not in time to get Jackson.

"I knew (Jackson) was going, no doubt," Bichette said.

The throw made it as far as Wally Joyner, who then relayed it to catcher Lance Parrish. Too late.

"A regular human being wouldn't have scored," White said in admiration of Jackson's speed.

Then again, said Bichette, a regular human being wouldn't have come close to Tabler's line drive in the first place.

"If anybody could have caught it, Devo could have," he said.

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