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Angels Get Another Big Thumbs Down

Baseball: Edmonds returns, but Boskie gets rocked as Mariners pile up 21 hits in a 15-3 rout.

July 19, 1996|MIKE DIGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The latest Disney release--Too Many Angels in the Outfield--had its premiere in Anaheim Stadium on Thursday night, but all the 22,780 fans got was another tired summer rerun.

The Angel pitching staff, which has played the key role in what has been a four-week disaster flick, got bombed again in a 15-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners, giving up 21 hits as the Angels suffered their 18th loss in 25 games.

This is some statement the Angels are making in the American League West. They're 5-14 near the end of a 22-game stretch against division opponents, and Angel starters are 3-9 with a 9.28 earned-run average in those 19 games.

"You just can't give up that many runs early in the game and expect to keep your energy level up," Manager Marcel Lachemann said. "You've got to take charge of the game from the mound."

The focus early Thursday night wasn't on pitching as much as it was center field, where Jim Edmonds returned to the Angel lineup for the first time since June 11, pushing Darin Erstad to left field and Garret Anderson to the bench.

Edmonds broke up Rusty Meacham's shutout with a bases-empty home run in the bottom of the eighth, eliciting an almost laughable fireworks display considering the Angels still trailed by 14 runs at the time.

But Edmonds, sidelined because of a sprained right thumb, could have added two grand slams to his 14th homer of the season, and the Angels still wouldn't have beaten the Mariners, who are now 6-1 against the Angels this season and trail first-place Texas by three games.

"I'm not going to come back and make the team win," said Edmonds, the Angels' best all-around offensive player who has been limited to 49 games because of injuries. "I just hope I can add a little life."

But it's tough to spark a team when the opponent's No. 5 hitter (Jay Buhner) has a double, a home run and five runs batted in before your cleanup batter (Tim Salmon) even makes a plate appearance.

Or when the opponent has nine runs and 10 hits before you get your first baserunner. Or when your starter throws 59 pitches . . . and records only four outs.

That's the kind of night it was for the Angels, who got a subpar start from the pitcher who has been their most pleasant surprise this season.

Shawn Boskie lasted only 1 1/3 innings, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits to fall to 10-4. He walked two batters before Buhner's two-run double in the first and gave up Ken Griffey Jr.'s two-run single in the second.

When Manager Marcel Lachemann pulled Boskie in the second, the Mariners pummeled the two relievers who followed, Buhner drilling a three-run homer off Shad Williams in the second, Griffey lining a two-run double off Ryan Hancock in the fifth and Alex Rodriguez hitting a towering, two-run homer to center off Hancock in the sixth.

Hancock, Saturday's scheduled starter, pitched 4 1/3 innings, so the Angels will have to call up a pitcher from triple-A Vancouver--probably Pep Harris or Dennis Springer--to take Hancock's spot in the rotation.

The Angels, meanwhile, managed only eight hits off Meacham, a converted reliever who went 7 1/3 innings to notch his first victory as a starter since July 4, 1991.

Boskie was asked if the lack of Angel offense had bothered him. "I'd be asking an awful lot," he said, "to ask for 16 runs."

Rodriguez, who raised his average to .352, led the Mariner barrage with four hits, including his 21st home run, two doubles and four runs. The 20-year-old shortstop has 16 hits in his last 32 at-bats, with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last eight games, five against the Angels.

Buhner's homer was his 26th, Griffey had four RBIs, and Joey Cora had three singles and three runs for Seattle, which put the game away with three runs in the first and six in the second. It was the fourth time this season the Mariners had 20 hits or more.

Seattle Manager Lou Piniella emptied his bench by the sixth inning, pulling five starters.

"They have an awfully solid lineup and you have to fight the temptation to pitch too carefully," Boskie said. "I think my pitches were just up enough and caught just enough of the plate that what might have been outs turned into hits."

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