Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Angels, Not Murray, Get the Big Hits

Baseball: Harris and Grimsley keep Oriole star from milestone homer in 10-2 victory.

September 04, 1996|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two guys named Pep Harris and Jason Grimsley silenced Hall of Famer-to-be Eddie Murray on Tuesday at Anaheim Stadium.

Kept the rest of the Baltimore Orioles pretty quiet too, which tells you all you need to know about the Angels' 10-2 victory.

In keeping with their theme of rout or be routed, the Angels hammered the Orioles.

Harris took what the Angels gave him and ran with it, picking up his first major league victory in his third start. He went seven strong innings, giving up two runs on six hits.

But more to the point, Harris wrecked the nights of--in order--the 15,924 fans who came to see Murray make history, Murray and the Orioles.

Murray will have to wait at least until tonight to become the 15th player in history to hit 500 home runs. Harris made sure Murray stayed stuck on No. 499.

"I couldn't block it out of my mind," Harris said of facing Murray. "If he hits it, he does it and I'll be in the record books. But not the way I want to be."

A six-run fifth inning put the game in the bag for the Angels. The only suspense left was whether Murray would hit his 500th homer.

Murray, trying to join Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as the only major leaguers with 500 homers and 3,000 hits, was fooled by Harris in his first three at-bats.

He grounded out weakly in the second, then flied out to left in the fourth. He was in the on-deck circle with a runner on and one out in the sixth, but Cal Ripken Jr. grounded into an inning-ending double play.

That was perhaps the biggest pitch Harris made all night.

"I've only known the guy since spring training," interim Manager Joe Maddon said. "He gets excited, but I wouldn't classify it as nervous. He just gets excited."

If that's so, it was difficult to tell.

"That ground ball really helped," Maddon said. "He made the pitch. He was just better in the strike zone tonight."

Murray then led off the seventh by grounding out.

Although Harris was uncooperative, Murray certainly had the Anaheim Stadium crowd behind him.

Each time Murray came to the plate the fans began chanting: "Ed-die, Ed-die." Each time Murray was retired, they groaned in disappointment.

He received a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the ninth to face reliever Grimsley. But Grimsley got Murray to send a soft fly ball to left field to end the game.

After a rocky start, this was the Angels' night.

They scored two runs in the first inning, one in the second, one in the fourth and six in the fifth.

Jim Edmonds had a bases-empty homer in the second and Tim Salmon had a run-scoring double in the fourth and a two-run bloop single in the fifth to highlight a 17-hit attack.

By the end of the fifth, every Angel in the lineup but J.T. Snow and George Arias had at least one hit and one run batted in.

Snow and Arias each singled in the sixth.

For the second consecutive game, Todd Zeile tormented Angel pitchers. One night after hitting two homers, Zeile doubled and singled twice in his first three at-bats.

The Orioles seemed poised to send Harris to an early exit in the first inning. Brady Anderson led off with a home run into the right-field stands.

Anderson has 43 homers and needs six in the season's final month to tie Frank Robinson's franchise record, set in 1966.

The leadoff homer was Anderson's ninth this year, tying Rickey Henderson's American League record set in 1986.

Zeile followed Anderson's homer with a double. But Harris settled down and retired the next three batters.

Although he hasn't exactly overwhelmed the opposition, Harris has been a pleasant surprise for the Angels.

He turned in a solid performance against the New York Yankees in his last start but couldn't get the last out in the fifth inning and did not receive a decision in the Angels' 14-3 victory.

"I'm just happy to be in the big leagues right now," Harris said.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|