Angels' Abbott bends, doesn't break

September 12, 1990|By Orange County Register

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jim Abbott got plenty of experience pitching from the stretch Monday night at Anaheim Stadium, but it proved practice well spent.

The California Angels left-hander allowed 14 Minnesota base runners in seven innings, but only Scott Leius -- who homered -- scored.

"It was kind of ugly, but I'll take it," Abbott said of the Angels' 3-1 victory over the Twins before 21,379.

He allowed 11 hits before reliever Bryan Harvey came on to retire all four Twins he faced, earning his 21st save, as the Angels remained in a fourth-place tie with Seattle.

"He [Abbott] got the outs when he had to, he pitched when he had to," Angels manager Doug Rader said. "That's the main thing, you get the outs when you have to get outs."

Abbott (10-12) matched his 1989 rookie record with the victory.

"It means something," he said of 10 victories. "To make double figures is a goal you shoot for. It's not earth-shattering or anything, but it's nice."

Abbott has allowed just four earned runs in his last 22 innings despite giving up 24 hits.

"I think it's more of an indication of him being a little more dominant within the strike zone," Rader said of Abbott's recent work. "Even if you give up hits, if you still trust your stuff in the strike zone, every single start, you'll win for the simple reason hitters will get themselves out."

After Abbott allowed his 10th and 11th hits Monday with two out in the eighth, right-handed Carmen Castillo was announced as a pinch hitter and the Angels went immediately to Harvey.

That move led to Minnesota countering with Kent Hrbek batting for Castillo. Rookie first baseman Lee Stevens backhanded Hrbek's hard grounder down the line to end the threat, the last in a series of fine defensive plays by the Angels.

"I thought [third baseman] Jack Howell played an extremely fine game," Rader said. "He made some extremely difficult plays, three or four of them, and made them look easy."

Twins right-hander Paul Abbott (0-3), who made his fifth major-league start, worked six innings, gave up 10 hits and zTC walked six but allowed only three runs.

Luis Polonia opened the third with a single off Paul Abbott's leg. An out later, Polonia stole second and Chili Davis drew his second walk.

Dave Winfield gave the Angels a 1-0 lead with an RBI single to center, scoring Polonia. It was the 1,495th RBI of Winfield's career, leaving him five shy of becoming the 26th player in major-league history to drive in 1,500.

Stevens made it 2-0 with a single to left, scoring Davis. Stevens ended an 0-for-22 streak with his first hit since Sept. 1, but Twins third baseman Gary Gaetti cut off left fielder Dan Gladden's throw and trapped Winfield off second base for the second out.

In the bottom of the sixth, Dick Schofield's all-out hustle and Polonia's continued clutch hitting got the Angels their third run.

With one out, Schofield smashed a one-hopper that handcuffed Twins rookie shortstop Leius and went into left field. Not content with a single, Schofield ran hard all the way and beat Gladden's throw to second for a double.

With two out, Polonia lined a single to center to score Schofield for a 3-0 Angels lead. Polonia, who was thrown out at second on the play, is hitting .349 (20-for-58) with runners in scoring position.

Leius got that run back for Minnesota in the top of the seventh, when he drove an 0-1 pitch out to left-center for his first major-league home run (in his 11th at-bat).

It was only the second homer allowed by Jim Abbott in his past six starts; Texas' Pete Incaviglia hit one Aug. 29.

The Twins had at least one base runner in each of the first six innings (eight hits, two walks, a hit batter) against Jim Abbott, but were unable to score.

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