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Angels' Bullpen Relieved to Finally Defeat Orioles

Baseball: Weaver and Hasegawa come through out of the bullpen, 8-5.

May 05, 2000|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BALTIMORE — Setup man Mark Petkovsek had pitched in five consecutive games, closer Troy Percival in four in a row, and both needed a day off. Right-hander Al Levine was in Arizona for the birth of his first child.

Manager Mike Scioscia was leery about using Mike Holtz after the left-hander threw 16 pitches Wednesday night, and the Angels still aren't ready to hand the ball to Rule 5 draft pick Derrick Turnbow in an important situation.

So the Angel bullpen was essentially reduced to two pitchers Thursday--Eric Weaver, an eight-year minor leaguer who was recalled from triple-A Edmonton on Sunday, and Shigetoshi Hasegawa, who was bombed for 11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings in his last five appearances.

Or was that Rich Gossage and Rollie Fingers?

Weaver and Hasegawa combined to throw four scoreless innings to help the Angels subdue the Baltimore Orioles, 8-5, Thursday before 43,892 in Camden Yards.

Weaver, making his Angel debut, took over for starter Ken Hill (3-3), who used 40 of his 101 pitches during the Orioles' three-run third and lasted only five innings. The right-handed Weaver was able to hand Hasegawa the same 6-5 lead he inherited.

Tim Salmon's home run and Benji Gil's RBI single gave the Angels two insurance runs in the eighth, and Hasegawa retired six of seven batters for his first save and only his second scoreless appearance in 10 games.

"Weaver and Hasegawa were the story of today's game," Scioscia said. "They came in and put up four zeros, and that's the reason we won. Eight runs didn't hurt, either."

With leadoff batter Darin Erstad failing to reach base for the first time in 28 games, the Angels received significant contributions from No. 7 batter Scott Spiezio, who had two hits and three runs batted in, and No. 8 and 9 batters Bengie Molina and Gil, who each had two hits and an RBI.

Spiezio, a designated hitter who made his first start of the season at third base--and had Brady Anderson's soft liner in the first clank off his glove for an error--keyed a four-run fourth with a two-run double off Oriole starter Mike Mussina (1-3).

The inning had started with Mo Vaughn's seventh home run, his 15th in Camden Yards and 32nd against Baltimore, both tying home run records for Oriole opponents. Molina followed Spiezio's hit with a double over Anderson's head in center field for a 5-3 lead.

Anderson's two-run homer off Hill in the fourth made it 5-5, but Angel second baseman Adam Kennedy tripled to start the fifth, and Vaughn brought him home with a slow roller to first, giving the Angels a lead they--Weaver and Hasegawa, to be more specific--wouldn't relinquish.

"I was glad to get the work and glad it was a meaningful game," said Weaver, who was one of the Angels' last cuts after throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in spring training. "That goes a long way in some people's eyes. Hopefully I'll get another chance soon."

Hasegawa has had plenty of chances this season, blowing most of them. The normally reliable right-hander who began the season with a 3.57 earned-run average in 175 games went into Thursday's game with an 11.12 ERA, having given up 27 hits, four of them homers, in 11 1/3 innings.

Even in the one game he wasn't charged with a run, against the Red Sox on April 8, Hasegawa gave up two hits and walked a batter in two-thirds of an inning.

"I think I've been thinking too much," Hasegawa said. "Today I didn't think about anything. I just threw hard and didn't shake off Bengie [Molina, Angel catcher] at all. I tried to hit his glove. I don't know why, but today I was able to keep the ball down and hit the targets."

Scioscia said he hadn't lost confidence in Hasegawa. "There are certain guys on your club you're going to win or lose with, and Shige is one of them," he said before the game. But it's no secret Petkovsek has gotten the calls in key setup situations this past week.

"I've got to thank Mike Scioscia," Hasegawa said. "I have confidence, but usually when you have an ERA of 11, you're not going to get the ball in those close situations."

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