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Humiliation in the Humidity for the Angels

May 21, 1996|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BALTIMORE — The Angels added injury to insult Monday night, their embarrassing 13-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles punctuated by an off-field collision that left their second baseman with a knot on his forehead and a reserve infielder with blurred vision and three stitches under his eye.

You know things are going badly when your pitching is horrendous, you make two errors and a handful of mental mistakes and a guy who didn't even play gets injured.

It happened in the seventh inning on a steamy, 99-degree night in Camden Yards. Damion Easley was about to replace second baseman Rex Hudler, but Easley ran through a tunnel from the Angel clubhouse to the dugout and smashed into Hudler, heading the other way.

"He was flying around the corner and we just bonked heads," said Hudler, whose lead-off homer was the Angels' only run. "I'm coming out of the game, he's trying to get some at-bats, and boom, he just smoked me. He's bleeding out of his eye and can't answer the bell. I feel bad for him."

Maybe it was for the best. At least Easley won't have to see his name in the box score of the Angels' most lopsided loss of the season, a game that was so different from Sunday's 10-1 victory in New York that it seemed hard to believe the Angels were involved in both games.

One day after Chuck Finley threw a complete game against the Yankees, five Angel pitchers combined to give up 17 hits, including three home runs. One day after amassing 15 hits in New York, the Angels managed only five against Baltimore, four off starter and winner David Wells.

After making several outstanding plays in New York, the Angels made two errors Monday night, center fielder Jim Edmonds threw to the wrong base once and right fielder Tim Salmon overthrew a cut-off man, each miscue giving the Orioles extra bases in big innings.

The Angels snapped a six-game losing streak Sunday and were confident they would go on a tear. Instead, they were shredded by the Orioles before 43,942 and have lost 11 of 13 games. They have been outscored, 50-28, in six games on this East Coast trip.

"We haven't pitched well, we haven't got many timely hits," Manager Marcel Lachemann said. "These things compound themselves."

Angel pitcher Jason Grimsley keeps repeating himself, stringing poor starts together the way Cal Ripken strings consecutive games played. The Orioles scored twice in the second inning and in the fourth belted Grimsley for four runs on five two-out hits, including homers by Brady Anderson and Roberto Alomar.

Grimsley went 2-1 with a 2.05 earned-run average in his first three Angel starts, but that all seems like a big tease now.

The grim figures from his last three starts: 0-3 record and 11.68 ERA, 23 hits and 19 runs given up in 12 1/3 innings.

"I'm so damn bone-headed sometimes," Grimsley said. "I've got to learn to mix my pitches and change speeds on them. People are getting a little too comfortable off me. I've got to move some people off the plate."

If opposing hitters are comfortable with Grimsley, they're downright ecstatic to see reliever Mark Holzemer, who replaced Grimsley in the fourth and gave up four more runs in the fifth.

And to think, Lachemann was actually considering giving Holzemer, who has a 10.38 ERA, a start.

"I'm not helping my cause," Holzemer said. "The way I'm pitching now, it's tough for Lach to even throw me out there. Finley told me it's my mental approach, that I can't worry about going down [to the minor leagues], because if you pitch like it's going to be your last game, it will be."

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