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McNamara Is Culprit in 10-9 Angel Loss

August 20, 1996|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BOSTON — Marcel Lachemann took the blame for his share of losses this season, but Monday night it was John McNamara's turn to simmer on the hot seat known as the Angel manager's chair.

McNamara sat calmly in his Fenway Park office following the Angels' 10-9 loss to the Boston Red Sox and remained composed throughout a post-game interview, but his face--beet red and flush with anger--told another story.

McNamara was steamed about a sixth-inning decision to let right-handed reliever Greg Gohr face three consecutive left-handed batters while Mike Holtz, one of the league's most effective left-handed relievers this past month, remained in the bullpen.

The result was a two-run Red Sox rally, capped by Troy O'Leary's two-run single that turned a 9-8 Angel lead into a 10-9 deficit, and a game the Angels should have won into a frustrating defeat.

"Am I regretting leaving Gohr in? Heck, yeah," McNamara said. "But I'll take the blame for it. You don't like to go to Holtz, [Mike] James or [Troy] Percival before the seventh inning, but those other [relievers] have got to do their jobs too."

Holtz eventually replaced Gohr to start the seventh and threw two scoreless innings to lower his earned-run average to 0.87, but it was too late.

As is the case with many wild, high-scoring American League games, this one was determined in the middle innings, and the Angels waited too long to use their best relievers.

"We all felt like we let one slip away," shortstop Gary DiSarcina said.

The Angels blew a 4-0 first-inning lead, but a three-run sixth, highlighted by J.T. Snow's RBI single and Jorge Fabregas' two-out, two-run single, gave them a 9-7 lead.

Gohr escaped a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth with the help of DiSarcina, who made a diving stop of Mo Vaughn's smash up the middle to start an inning-ending double play.

But Boston designated hitter Reggie Jefferson, who had already doubled twice, homered with one out in the sixth, and Mike Stanley followed with a single. Left-handers Mike Greenwell, Lee Tinsley and O'Leary were due up, but Holtz didn't even begin warming until Stanley's hit.

Greenwell singled to right, and both runners advanced on Tinsley's groundout. O'Leary, with first base open, then grounded a single up the middle to put the Red Sox ahead for good.

Boston relievers Stan Belinda, Mark Brandenburg and Heathcliff Slocumb shut down the Angels over the final three innings, and the Angels fell 14 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers.

"In this park you can't send somebody out there to shut down one run," pitching coach Joe Coleman said. "And you can't expect to win a game like this in the sixth inning. People have to do the job to get us to the eighth and ninth. . . . Greg [Gohr] has done well, but he didn't make the pitches he had to today."

Neither did most of the other 10 pitchers who played in the 3-hour, 58-minute game that included 31 hits, 16 by the Red Sox and 15 by the Angels, and a total of 379 pitches.

Angel starter Jason Grimsley and Boston starter Jeff Suppan lasted a combined 1 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits, and many of the relievers who followed them didn't fare much better.

"Welcome to Fenway Park," McNamara groused. "You can go through your whole pitching staff here in one night."

The Angels wasted Tim Salmon's four-hit game, which included a solo homer in the fourth, Fabregas' career-high four RBIs, Jim Edmonds' two-run homer in the first, Rex Hudler's three hits, and another sparkling defensive play, when Hudler gunned down O'Leary at the plate in the second inning.

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