ANAHEIM, Calif. -- On a night when Chili Davis was breaking barriers, Tim Salmon was breaking bones.
Davis slugged two three-run homers to surpass the 100-RBI mark in a 15-1 pulverization of the Seattle Mariners Wednesday night, but his post-game celebration was tempered by news that Salmon suffered a broken left ring finger and would be lost for the final 17 games of the season.
Salmon was fooled by Larry Sheets' sinking line drive in the top of the fifth inning, the ball striking the tip of his glove. He was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital where X-rays revealed a fracture and a chip floating in the joint.
He will have a more extensive examination today by hand specialist Dr. Norman Zemel to determine if surgery is necessary.
And so ends the season of the American League's certain rookie of the year, who started the night with his first career grand-slam and ended the night in the hospital.
He wound up hitting .283 with 95 RBI and an Angels rookie record 31 home runs. He was on pace to finish with 35 homers and 106 RBI.
"It would have been nice to finish the season, to see what Chili just did I'd like to have a shot at that," Salmon said. "I heard something clicking in there. I knew it wasn't good. It's a freak thing, what can you say about it?"
The Angels have had plenty of freak injuries this year, mostly to young players. Damion Easley, Gary DiSarcina, Julio Valera, John Orton, Russ Springer, Kelly Gruber, Pete Janicki and Troy Percival have also suffered season-ending injuries.
Meanwhile, the veterans have proven to be the most reliable producers, and nobody more so than Davis, whose contract negotiations with management just began.
Angels officials, in these twisted economic times, are probably frustrated with Davis. They want to down-scale his salary for next year, and he keeps hitting home runs, having belted a pair Saturday in Toronto.
Davis is having the best year of any designated hitter. His six RBI in this game gave him 102, the most of any Angel since Wally Joyner had 117 in 1987 and he has 24 home runs.