ANAHEIM — There wasn't much to it for Angel pitcher Chuck Finley Tuesday night. He merely had to throw strikes, then lean back and watch his team make it painfully obvious how long it has been since the last World Series.
They did so with a 14-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, technically the defending champions.
Of course, that was back in 1993 and a lot has happened since. Most noticeable to the Anaheim Stadium crowd of 61,292--the largest in the major leagues this season--was how far the Blue Jays have fallen and how far the Angels have come.
The victory kept the Angels a game ahead of the Texas Rangers in the American League West. The loss dropped the Blue Jays deeper into the East cellar, 13 games behind the Boston Red Sox.
"You look at their lineup and one through nine is tough," Finley said. "It's hard to figure out what's wrong."
Not that he wasted much time considering it. It was more enjoyable basking in another run-glut start.
The Angels, who averaged a little more than two runs in Finley's first five starts, have given him 34 runs in his last two. They defeated Texas, 20-4, last week, then came back with 14 hits, three each by J.T. Snow, Garret Anderson and Gary DiSarcina, Tuesday.
Snow had four runs batted in. DiSarcina and Damion Easley each had three.
"I'm going to get spoiled," Finley said. "They gave me a chance to relax and make a few mistakes."
If he did, they were minuscule.
While the Blue Jays are a mere shell of their 1993 team, Finley is the same. He was good in 1993 and, unlike the Blue Jays, has maintained that level.
A week from now, Finley will be attending his third All-Star game, even if a so-so 7-6 record raises an eyebrow or two. But the other numbers are hard to argue.
Finley was 0-4 after a 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins May 17. He has won seven of nine since. His losses were to Seattle's Randy Johnson and Boston's Roger Clemens.
"What's tough about Chuck is the angle his fastball comes at you," Manager Marcel Lachemann said. "He is so tall that it comes down hill at a pretty severe angle."
Finley gave up three hits and struck out six in seven innings, lowering his earned-run average to 2.92. Relievers Mike James and Bob Patterson finished up.
"Chuck was Chuck," Easley said. "It doesn't matter if we give him 14 runs or one, he's going to pitch well."
Given the choice, Finley will take the 14.
"Actually, I was saying, 'Enough,' " Finley said. "I was losing some of my sweat between innings."
Blue Jay Manager Cito Gaston had no such problem. He watched starter Juan Guzman, a pillar during those championship years, fall apart again.
Guzman, a big part of the Blue Jays' back-to-back World Series titles, has declined with his team. He was 16-5 in 1992 and 14-3 in 1993, but entered Tuesday's game with a 2-3 record. He left hardly worthy of trade rumors such the ones hovering around teammate David Cone.
Guzman was 4-1 lifetime against the Angels but was gone after 3 2/3 innings Tuesday. He gave up eight hits, walked four and left trailing, 8-0. He was good for Angel hitters.
The Angels scored four in the third and four in the fourth, with Snow figuring prominently in both rallies. He had two-out, two-run singles in each inning to match his career single-game high in RBIs with four. He is 14 of 29 in his last seven games.
Easley ended a four-for-28 slide with a two-run double in the third, making him six for 12 against Guzman in his career. Easley had a run-scoring single to match his single-game career high with three.
"He was getting the ball up a lot," Easley said.
Nor could Guzman get a break. Besides Snow's hit just cleared Alomar, DiSarcina's fourth-inning home run appeared to be aided by a fan, who reached over the fence in the left-field corner.
"Tonight, two runs would have been enough," Finley said. "But 14 was nice."
* MIKE PENNER
Face facts: This is the year of the underdog and the first-place Angels couldn't be happier about it. C5