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Angels Disappoint in Loss to Devil Rays

May 22, 1999|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Despite an awful start by right-hander Ken Hill, some shoddy relief work by Mike Magnante and a dropped ball by right fielder Todd Greene, the Angels were still in a position to tie Friday night's eyesore of a game against Tampa Bay, and they couldn't have asked for a better scenario:

Runners on first and third, one out in the eighth inning, down by a run, and Mo Vaughn, who had blasted a three-run home run in the second, at the plate, salivating at the thought of another clutch RBI.

But there would be no late-inning heroics this time. The Mighty Mo struck out looking at an Esteban Yan knee-high fastball on the inside corner, Greene flied to center, and the Angels lost to the Devil Rays, 10-9, before 20,697 at Tropicana Field.

The Angels' eighth-inning dud--singles by Andy Sheets and Darin Erstad had filled the inning with promise--followed a disappointing seventh, when the Angels loaded the bases with no outs and scored only once, on Chris Pritchett's sacrifice fly. Troy Glaus struck out for the third time, and pinch-hitter Orlando Palmeiro popped to shallow center to end that threat.

The Devil Rays tacked on a key insurance run on Jose Canseco's eighth-inning RBI double, which allowed Tampa Bay closer Roberto Hernandez, a former Angel prospect, to notch his major league-leading 15th save despite giving up Palmeiro's RBI single in the ninth.

The Devil Rays had broken a 7-7 tie with two runs off Magnante in the fifth, as Wade Boggs singled with one out, Miguel Cairo singled with two outs and Kevin Stocker blooped an RBI single to center, scoring Boggs and advancing Cairo to third.

Magnante got ahead of Quinton McCracken, 1-2, and picked off Stocker at first, but Cairo scored before first baseman Steve Decker tagged Stocker for a 9-7 lead.

Hill and Devil Ray left-hander Tony Saunders were superb in last Saturday's crisply played, 3-1 Tampa Bay victory, but both were all soggy and wet Friday night.

Hill, coming off one of his best starts of the season, reverted to his old struggling self, giving up seven runs on six hits and walking four in 3 1/3 innings.

Saunders, who gave up one run on three hits in eight innings last Saturday, continually fell behind Angel hitters, giving up seven runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, but only one of the runs was earned.

The Angels scored six times in the second with the help of two Tampa Bay throwing errors, by Boggs and Stocker. Vaughn keyed the rally with a 425-foot, three-run home run to center, his ninth of the season, and Sheets and Erstad each had RBI singles.

That put the Angels up, 6-2, but for the second straight night, they couldn't hold a four-run lead. Stocker's RBI single in the second made it 6-3, Canseco's major league-leading 17th homer made it 6-4 in the third, and the Devil Rays scored three in the fourth to take a 7-6 lead.

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