YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Angels Take Their Shots

Baseball: They beat frazzled Yankees, 4-0, after controversial confrontation.


ANAHEIM — The Boss is in a frenzy. The lead is slipping away. The manager is confident but concerned.

What the New York Yankees desperately needed was a nice relaxing afternoon knocking around the lowly Angels at Anaheim Stadium on Sunday.

Didn't happen.

Instead, the Yankees left town with a 4-0 loss and a few parting shots at Angel closer Troy Percival.

They couldn't just take their split of the four-game series with the Angels and head to Oakland quietly, hoping to halt a late-season slide that's past mere annoyance for owner George Steinbrenner.

Percival sent the Yankees over the edge with a 2-and-2 fastball that was a little too high and tight for Mariano Duncan with two outs in the ninth inning.

Duncan, mindful of the inside fastball Percival threw Saturday to Paul O'Neill, started barking.

He had been one of those screaming at Percival after the pitch to O'Neill. Now that it was happening to him, Duncan let fly at Percival.

After a moment more glaring at each other, Percival delivered strike three to Duncan to preserve the shutout and a victory for Chuck Finley (13-13).

Finley gave up four hits and had nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings, winning his fourth consecutive game against New York. Mike James got the Angels out of trouble in the eighth and Percival pitched a scoreless ninth.

Tim Salmon hit his team-leading 29th home run of the season, a three-run shot into the left-field seats, to highlight a four-run third inning against Yankee starter Kenny Rogers (10-8).

Rogers, slammed by Steinbrenner in the tabloids last week, gave up four runs on six hits. All but one of the hits came in the pivotal third, however.

But all of that was overshadowed by one pitch that Percival said got away and Duncan said was intentionally aimed at his head.

"It's a man's game, if they're going to play like a bunch of crying babies, they can expect that [an inside pitch]," Percival said.

"He's . . . goofy," Duncan said.

This apparently started when Percival, pitching for the first time since Aug. 23, misfired on a ninth-inning pitch to O'Neill during the Yankees' 14-3 victory Saturday.

O'Neill, who triggered a brawl after an inside pitch Wednesday against Seattle, said nothing. But the Yankee dugout exploded with Duncan leading the yapping.

"I don't know what their problem is and I don't give a damn," Percival said. "They should just learn to deal with it. If they can't, they shouldn't get into the box. Right now, the way we're playing, I'm not going to let people just whack away.

"They come up there and start mouthing off, I'm not going to take it. I've got pretty good control. If I wanted to hit them, they'd be hit."

Said Duncan: "I'm not afraid of that guy. I've faced guys that threw harder than him. Nobody is going to intimidate me. He didn't show me nothing except that he was trying to hit people.

"If he don't know how to throw inside, he shouldn't do it. We have more to lose if we charge the mound. We can't afford to get anybody hurt.

"They're going no place."

Back to Percival.

"I don't throw at anybody's head," Percival said. "I came inside. I sent my message, then I went back to work. That's the way the game's played. I have no problem with O'Neill. But [Duncan] was standing up in the dugout yelling at me [Saturday]."

Back to Duncan.

"Somebody is going to come after him," Duncan said. "Whether it's me or somebody else, somebody is going to come after him."

Percival and James, the set-up man, have made few friends this season.

Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox vowed revenge after Percival pumped his fist following a game-ending strikeout in April.

James angered Boston's Mo Vaughn with an emotional reaction to a strikeout last week.

"That's just the way it goes," Finley said, trying to be a voice of reason. "You can't be nice all the time. For the most part, guys are just trying to get in Percy's head. Against somebody that dominating, you look for any advantage.

"But he's not going to play that game with you."

Los Angeles Times Articles