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Players Go Quietly Into Off-Season

September 29, 1997|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

Texas pitcher John Burkett chose baseball's honor code over a potential shutout in Sunday's season finale, throwing an eight-inning three-hitter to lead the Rangers to a 4-0 victory over the Angels before 20,458 in Anaheim Stadium.

When Angel reliever Mike Bovee gave up a home run to Kevin Brown and then threw a pitch near the chin of Damon Buford in the top of the ninth, Burkett responded by backing Jim Edmonds off the plate with his first pitch of the ninth.

Burkett's second pitch went behind Edmonds, drawing an immediate ejection from home-plate umpire John Hirschbeck. Had it been July or August, a bench-clearing brawl would have ensued, but Edmonds simply tossed the ball into the crowd and play resumed, with John Wetteland finishing off the Angels.

"That doesn't make any sense," Angel third baseman Luis Alicea said of Burkett's reaction, "but I guess he's making a statement. That's part of the game I don't like."

Angel left-hander Allen Watson started despite undergoing extensive dental work Friday, when a routine procedure--he went in for an implant for a new tooth--became complicated, and a hole had to be drilled through the roof of his mouth to relieve a blocked sinus.

Watson's face was swollen and he had 12 stitches inside his mouth, but he pitched seven strong innings, giving up three runs--one earned--and seven hits, walking one and striking out six.

"I had the best stuff I've had all year," Watson said. "I should just get my face drilled 35 times a year, before every start."

Garret Anderson had one of the Angels' hits, a fourth-inning double that gave him 189 hits, the second-highest single-season total in franchise history behind Alex Johnson's 202 in 1970.

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