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Boskie Feels Heat--and Delivers Some Too

Angels: Right-hander gives up four hits in 6 1/3 innings for 2-0 victory over Orioles.

August 24, 1996|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BALTIMORE — Sweat was dripping off Shawn Boskie's hands. The intense heat and humidity of a sweltering, 95-degree evening had drained the Angel pitcher.

And that was before Boskie shut out one of baseball's hottest teams, giving up four hits in 6 1/3 innings Friday night to lead the Angels to a 2-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles before a sellout crowd of 47,291 in Camden Yards.

"Today is the closest I've felt to being the most tired I've ever been," said Boskie, who struck out seven, walked three and threw 128 pitches in perhaps his most impressive start of the season. "I'm mentally and physically exhausted, and the worst part is I felt that way before the game.

"After warming up, my hands were sopping wet. I felt so tired I thought I'd have nothing. I was really surprised when I threw some early fastballs by guys. I thought I'd fizzle out after three innings, but things worked out really well."

Chili Davis homered in the second off Oriole starter David Wells, and Jim Edmonds homered for an insurance run in the ninth, the first time this season Wells had given up a home run to a left-handed batter.

Boskie (12-6) turned the ball over to relievers Mike Holtz and Troy Percival and, as has become custom, the lefty-righty bullpen tandem nailed down the victory, Percival notching his 33rd save and sixth in the past 11 days.

That gave the Angels their third consecutive victory, seventh in the last 10 games, and moved them to within eight games of the Chicago White Sox in the American League wild-card race.

"I was reading [Friday] how Boston is back in the playoff picture--that could be us in a couple weeks," General Manager Bill Bavasi said. "But it would be nice if there were two months left in the season instead of one."

Yeah, and it would be nice if the Angels had two right-handed starters of Boskie's caliber instead of one. The Orioles had averaged a major league-leading 7.3 runs a game in August to close the gap on the Yankees in the American League East, but their bats were putty Friday night.

Their only decent scoring chance was in the fourth when Bobby Bonilla walked, took second on a passed ball and third on Cal Ripken's infield single.

The Angel infield, including first baseman J.T. Snow, played deep, conceding the run, but when B.J. Surhoff hit a slow roller to first, Bonilla broke for home and then slowed, unsure of his decision. Snow threw home and Bonilla, who put up no resistance, was tagged out by catcher Todd Greene.

Boskie then struck out Eddie Murray and Chris Hoiles to end the inning.

"In my mind that was a run," Boskie said. "We were lucky."

After Boskie walked Roberto Alomar with one out in the seventh, Holtz came on to retire Brady Anderson on a fielder's choice and Rafael Palmeiro on a fly ball. Bonilla grounded out to start the eighth, Ripken doubled, Surhoff popped to second, and Percival came on and struck out Murray to end the inning.

Holtz, a 5-foot-8 lefthander who was called up from double-A Midland at the All-Star break, lowered his earned-run average to 0.78.

"I like being the underdog," Holtz said. "I like when people say, 'Who is this guy coming in?' I mean, I keep drinking milk and I'm not growing."

But his reputation is, and so is Percival's. The Angel closer blew fastballs by Murray in the eighth and by Anderson in the ninth to end the game.

"He's an animal," Oriole Manager Davey Johnson said. "He reminds me of [former Boston pitcher] Dick Radatz. Like Charlie Lau said, you don't warm him up, you plug him in."

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