By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
AUG. 30, 2002
GAME 134 - ORIOLES AT ANGELS
ANAHEIM -- Mickey Callaway could walk through the concourse at Edison Field and it's doubtful anyone would give him a second look. Even wearing an Angels uniform and standing on the pitcher's mound, he doesn't strike fear into opposing hitters.
What Callaway does do, though, is throw strikes. Effectively mixing off-speed pitches with a fastball that only reaches between 86-89 mph, Callaway took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles and earned his first major league win since 1999 in the Angels' 6-2 victory before 29,959 fans.
The crowd total was nearly 6,000 below the Angels' Friday average of 35,243 this season.
The Angels offense supported Callaway with 10 hits, including three by David Eckstein and a home run by Darin Erstad. Brendan Donnelly (1 2/3 innings) and Scott Schoeneweis (1 1/3 innings) combined for three scoreless innings to finish it off.
With the win, the Angels increased their lead in the American League wild-card race to 1 1/2 games over Seattle, which lost to Kansas City on Friday. The Angels remain 3 1/2 games behind A.L. West-leading Oakland, which won its 16th game in a row.
Callaway gave up only three hits in six-plus innings in his second start with the Angels since being called up last week to replace the injured Aaron Sele. He lost his no-hitter with one out in the sixth when Geronimo Gil singled and lost his shutout when the next batter, Mike Bordick, hit a two-run homer.
Otherwise, Callaway did what he's done all season -- throw strikes while mixing his pitches and keeping hitters off balance. Before his promotion, Callaway went 9-2 with a 1.68 ERA at Triple-A Salt Lake, walking only 22 in 91 1/3 innings. In two starts with the Angels, he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA, including last week's start in Fenway Park against the Red Sox.
Overall, Callaway has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his outings this season, including all 17 appearances at Salt Lake.
``He was locked in down there,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``When guys go down there we try to give them a sense that if you perform well, you never know when the door might open. For Mickey it came late in the season, but he was ready.''
It was Callaway's second career major league victory, the only other one coming as a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Callaway, who struck out five and walked one, hit Jerry Hairston with a pitch with one out in the first inning, but erased him on a double-play ball. Through five innings, he faced the minimum 15 batters and didn't allow a hit. He began the sixth by striking out Marty Cordova, but Gil broke up the no-hit bid with a groundball single to right.
``I was aware of it,'' Callaway said of the no-hitter. ``But I just wanted to make pitches and go deep into the game. I got away from my gameplan a little bit ... you've got to get further into the game. I try to do that every time out, basically make pitches. I make pitches, I get outs.''
The shutout was gone soonafter when Bordick hit a 1-2 pitch down the left-field line and over the short fence near the foul pole for a two-run homer to cut the Angels' lead in half at 4-2.
Eckstein led off the Angels' first ining with a single off Orioles starter Jason Johnson (4-11) but was forced at second by Erstad. Orlando Palmeiro walked and one out later, Troy Glaus walked to load the bases for Scott Spiezio.
Spiezio hit a dribbler toward third baseman Tony Batista, who had no play and the Angels had a 1-0 lead. Brad Fullmer got hit by a pitch on his left foot, forcing in another run to make it 2-0.
In the fourth inning, Fullmer, Bengie Molina, Adam Kennedy and Eckstein singled consecutively to start the inning, Fullmer scoring on Kennedy's single to put the Angels up, 3-0. With the bases loaded, Erstad grounded out to the pitcher, driving in Molina for a 4-0 lead.
Erstad's solo homer in the sixth made it 5-2 and Molina's RBI single in the seventh put the Angels up, 6-2.
ANAHEIM -- As the Angels' player representative to the players union, it was pitcher Scott Schoeneweis' job to call his teammates early Friday morning to inform them a strike was averted.
Schoeneweis had to leave voice mails for many of his teammates who didn't answer their phones. The ones who answered weren't necessarily thinking clearly so early in the morning.
``There were a lot of guys half asleep,'' Schoeneweis said. ``I said, `Hey, it's time to go to work.' Some guys said, `Right now?' So I said, `No, not now. Tonight. Go back to sleep.' ''
Once they realized they had a game to play Friday night, the Angels players were like everybody else in baseball.
``It's the news I've been wanting to hear for two years,'' first baseman Scott Spiezio said. ``Schoeneweis called me in the morning and woke me up. I said all right, I get to go to work today. It was pretty cool. I had some big-time doubts. I had all my equipment packed and ready to go. I saved some money; I've been saving for the past two years or so. I was thinking about buying some land or something.''
Right fielder Tim Salmon, a former player rep himself, was confident something would get done.
``All along the players had to be guarded as to what we said because we didn't want to disrupt anything,'' he said. ``We knew from our side of the negotiations what we needed to do for it to come together. It wasn't like the past, where we were digging in our heels. We went further down the road toward their (owners') thinking than we ever had.
``It's a great day for the game, for both sides.''
Manager Mike Scioscia was happy to hear the news, even if it meant a three-hour, 10-minute drive in Labor Day weekend traffic from his home in Westlake Village to Edison Field. Scioscia and his family spent most of the summer in a rented house on Balboa Island, but school has started for his kids and they're all back home again in the San Fernando Valley.
``It's great that we can finish the season and get the chance to earn a playoff spot,'' Scioscia said. ``Thankfully, the two sides had discussions all year, which put them in position to get something done, unlike past years.''
Scioscia said that the league needs to do something for the fans, even though a strike never happened.
``Fans supported baseball well throughout the threat of a strike,'' he said. ``Baseball has to extend an olive branch and make an effort. We have to realize there's more at stake than guys' jobs and money. The game is more than for the people that play it.''
And what can the Angels do for their fans?
``The biggest thing we can do is continue to play great baseball and get in the playoffs,'' Scioscia said.
Salmon hit soft toss Friday, one day after hitting off a tee and said his left hand is finally feeling better. He hasn't started a game since Aug. 10, when he was hit on the hand with a pitch and suffered a bone bruise.
Salmon is taking it day by day, but if his hand feels good today he could take live batting practice and possible play in a rehab game at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday, the Quakes' last game of the season.
Scioscia said the best-case scenario for a Salmon return would be the middle of next week.
Left-handed reliever Dennis Cook, recovering from a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder, gave up four runs and four hits in one inning of a rehab assignment game at Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday. He's expected to be activated on Sunday.
The Angels will call up a few players from Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, when rosters may be expanded. Though all of them will not be promoted, the Angels are considering outfielders Julio Ramirez and Robb Quinlan, shortstop Alfredo Amezaga, first baseman/outfielder Larry Barnes, pitchers Lou Pote and Francisco Rodriguez and catcher Sal Fasano.
Quinlan, named the Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year and MVP this season, is hitting .333 with 20 homers and 111 RBIs.