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BASEBALL EXTRA

Dickson Upstaged by Red Sox Rookie

Angels: Right-hander's drive for a 5-0 April falls short as Garciaparra ignites Boston's hit parade in 11-2 rout.

May 01, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BOSTON — Jason Dickson's American League Rookie of the Year campaign had been picking up steam throughout April. But the young candidate from Massachusetts, Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, knocked the Angel right-hander down a few notches in the polls Wednesday night.

Garciaparra and his Red Sox running mates reduced Dickson to a mere rookie, ripping him for seven runs on eight hits in four innings of an 11-2 victory over the Angels before 20,322 in Fenway Park.

Garciaparra, the former Bellflower St. John Bosco High and Georgia Tech standout, doubled, homered, walked and scored three runs off Dickson, and the rookie added another double and a run off reliever Darrell May, pushing his average to .328.

Dickson shut out the Red Sox, 2-0, on April 3 in Anaheim, but Garciaparra had two singles in four at-bats that night, so in their head- to-head meetings, Garciaparra is a combined four for six.

"I like him a lot--he has good speed, range and power," Angel Manager Terry Collins said of Garciaparra. "You don't move a John Valentin [from shortstop to second] unless you have something special, and I think they do."

Dickson entered with a 4-0 record and was almost unhittable in his last two starts, but he had trouble locating his fastball, curve and changeup, and the Red Sox had little trouble teeing off on him. Mo Vaughn had three of Boston's 13 hits, and every Boston starter except catcher Bill Haselman had an RBI.

"I hung just about everything tonight, and you can't make those kinds of mistakes against major league hitters," Dickson said. "I had no control, I wasn't mixing my pitches, I wasn't getting ahead of batters. . . . It wasn't one thing that wasn't working, it was a combination of everything."

Though the game was a blowout from the fourth inning on, there was some intrigue at the end when Angel reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa hit Wil Cordero in the leg with an 0-2 pitch in the bottom of the eighth.

Cordero and Angel catcher Jorge Fabregas exchanged words, and both benches emptied slowly, the Angel charge led by Dave Hollins, who appeared to be stalking the Red Sox like a cheetah eyeing its prey. Both bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown.

Cordero was still steaming after the game but refused comment. Hasegawa, who bowed to Cordero after the pitch as if to apologize, said the ball simply slipped out of his hands.

"If I was him," Hasegawa said, "I wouldn't be angry."

Fabregas also thought Cordero overreacted.

"We weren't trying to hit anyone," Fabregas said. "If he wants a fight, we'll fight, but he wasn't asking for a fight."

The Angels didn't put up that good a fight against Boston left-hander Chris Hammond, a reliever-turned-starter who replaced injured knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the rotation.

Hammond pitched five strong innings, giving up only one run on five hits, including Jim Edmonds' fifth-inning RBI single, to gain the victory in his second start, and four relievers finished the game.

Though Dickson was hit hard, his earned-run average (3.18) didn't take too much of a beating because Boston's four runs in the third inning were unearned.

Garciaparra led off the bottom of the first with a double off the 420-foot wall in right-center and scored on Vaughn's single for a 1-0 lead. The Red Sox broke the game open in the third with a rally made possible by second baseman Luis Alicea's throwing error that followed his tremendous diving, back-hand stab of Cordero's one-hop smash up the middle.

Alicea scrambled to his feet and had plenty of time to retire Cordero, but his throw one-hopped first baseman Dave Hollins, who couldn't dig it for the third out.

Vaughn singled to right for one run, Reggie Jefferson singled to center for another, Tim Naehring doubled off the wall in left for two more, and the rout was on.

The Red Sox added two runs in each of the fourth (homers by Garciaparra and Darren Bragg), fifth (Troy O'Leary RBI double, Jeff Frye sacrifice fly) and sixth (Cordero RBI double, Jefferson RBI single) innings.

"Alicea made a great stop, and when things are going good, the pitcher picks you up by getting the next guy," Collins said. "That's one thing Jason has done all year, but he just didn't have it today."

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