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Blue Jays Complete Sweep of Angels, 6-1 : Toronto Goes 14 Innings for Victory

June 22, 1989|GENE WOJCIECHOWSKI | Times Staff Writer

It was so quiet at Anaheim Stadium Wednesday evening that you almost could hear the Angels drop.

Until the ninth inning.

That's when Devon White proved that his Gold Glove isn't just costume jewelry. It's also when Brian Downing showed that he can aim his home runs toward exotic, far-away places, such as right field.

Combine those two things and you understand just how the Angels climbed back into a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the last possible moment--the bottom of the ninth--only to waste a one-out, bases-loaded opportunity two innings later.

But in the 14th inning, the Blue Jays scored five runs to win, 6-1.

The Angels could thank plenty of people for the extra-inning game, beginning with White, then Downing, then Angel starter Bert Blyleven. They even could thank Blue Jay Kelly Gruber, whomisplayed Downing's high, arching hit (and possible out) into a home run.

But first White. He robbed Tony Fernandez of a sure home run with one out in the ninth as he snared the ball as it tried dropping over the center field fence. And to add to his defensive show, White grabbed a sinking blooper of George Bell's in the 10th.

Meanwhile, Downing did all the heavy swinging. He had a double in the first and then that homer in the ninth against reliever David Wells. Gruber, playing only his eighth game in right, mistimed his jump and nicked the ball well over the wall. The game was tied.

Angel starter Bert Blyleven deserved better than a no-decision. Then again, so did Blue Jay starter Mike Flanagan.

Blyleven needed only 94 pitches to complete his nine innings. He didn't walk a Blue Jay, struck out a season-high nine batters and allowed just four hits and that one run. It was his second no-decision in his last two starts.

Flanagan had reason to wince, too. He left the game with a one-run lead after eight strong innings (four hits, one walk), but then saw it disappear on a single Wells pitch, Downing swing and Gruber leap (if that's how you describe someone staggering backward into the right-field fence). The outing certainly will lower Flanagan's earned-run average, but it won't do much for his won-loss record.

Anyway, here's the kind of a night it was for the Angels:

--They begin their half of the first inning with a leadoff double by Brian Downing. . . . and strand him there as Johnny Ray, White and Chili Davis fail to even move him to third, to say nothing of home.

--They begin their half of the second inning with another leadoff hit, this time a single by Tony Armas. One out later, Bill Schroeder singles, giving the Angels a wonderful little chance to mount a rally against Flanagan. That was before Jack Howell, two for his last 12 at the time, grounded into a double play.

After that, scoring chances were few and far between. There was that walk that Davis coaxed out of Flanagan in the fourth inning. It amounted to nothing.

There was a one-out single by Howell in the fifth. But Howell, who has yet to steal a base this year, tried swiping second and was promptly caught. So the streak lives.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays did what they had to do against the Angels, which, these days, means scoring a single run.

Toronto's lone score came in the fourth, when Fernandez singled to left-center with one out. A Gruber double to right moved him to third and a George Bell sacrifice fly to center moved him to home and the Blue Jays ahead, 1-0.

As has become the June custom, the Angel lineup, from top to bottom, continues to struggle. Davis hasn't hit a home run in Anaheim since May 14. Howell is three for his last 15. Lance Parrish is two for his last 15. Johnny Ray went 1-for-5 Wednesday night and his hitting an un-Ray-esque .270-something. Dick Schofield is one for his last 14 at-bats. Devon White is in a seven-for-46 droop. So it's little wonder that the Angel team batting average has dropped more than 40 points since May.

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