Mattingly Helps KO The Angels. (Los Angeles Times 7/25/94)


The New York Yankees played eight innings of rope-a-dope with the Angels Sunday at Anaheim Stadium.

When they grew weary of that, they sent Don Mattingly to the plate to land the haymaker that propelled them to a 6-4 come-from-behind victory and a four-game series sweep.

It was a new twist, but it worked just as well.

The Yankees had battered the Angels in the first three games, outscoring them, 30-12, and outhitting them, 46-29. For eight innings Sunday, New York seemed content to wait out Angel left-hander Mark Langston.

When Langston tired, the Yankees pounced, and most of the crowd of 25,754, some waving brooms, loved it.

The game boiled down to Angel reliever Joe Grahe versus Mattingly with two on, one out and the Angels ahead, 4-2, in the ninth.

It turned out to be a mismatch all the way. Mattingly hit the right-hander's 2-and-2 pitch over the right field wall for a three-run homer.

Angel Manager Marcel Lachemann insisted there was no other way around the matchup. Grahe is his closer, so he entrusted the club's fate to him.

Yankee Manager Buck Showalter sensed that, too, waiting for the right chance to spring one of five left-handed pinch-hitters against Grahe.

Of the five, Mattingly and Wade Boggs are likely to wind up in the Hall of Fame some day.

"I felt like a kid in a candy shop," Showalter said over and over again.

Lachemann said Langston was exhausted and he wasn't going to leave him in the game to face the right-handed hitting Gerald Williams. Langston had given up seven hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts--fanning Williams twice--but had thrown 143 pitches.

Grahe replaced Langston, and Mattingly replaced Williams.

Moments later, Mattingly circled the bases to a standing ovation, which left the Angels feeling doubly cursed.

Later, after Lachemann replaced Grahe with Mark Leiter, Lachemann motioned for Grahe to wait so they could walk off the field together.

"I guess he was going to jump in front of the bullets on the way (into the dugout)," said Grahe, 2-5 with a 6.05 earned-run average.

Lachemann had this to say after the Angels fell to a season-low 16 games below .500:

"If they want to boo both of us that's fine. It's nothing new to me because I've been here before, but it's tough on the players. A guy hits a home run and everyone is cheering for him. These people want a winner and I understand, but it goes both ways."

The ninth inning unfolded in agonizing fashion for the Angels. Riding Langston's pitching and solo homers by Mark Dalesandro, Rex Hudler and J.T. Snow off Jim Abbott, the Angels led, 4-2. But trouble is never far away this season.

After retiring Danny Tartabull to start the ninth, Langston gave up a single to Mike Stanley, then walked Jim Leyritz.

Lachemann had seen enough, deciding to turn to Grahe to preserve the victory. But it also brought up the inevitable confrontation. Showalter wasn't about to let Williams bat for himself, instead calling on Mattingly.

"I don't pinch-hit that often," Mattingly said after his first career pinch homer. "I got myself ready a couple of innings before. It looked like Langston was losing command, and all of the left-handers were just waiting to see who would get the call."

At the plate, Mattingly waited patiently, picking out what Grahe called "a fat one, obviously," sending it over the wall.

"I thought it was gone all the way," Mattingly said.

Grahe said: "I let the whole team down. I didn't just let Mark down."

Despite losing four games to the Yankees, the Angels remained five games behind first-place Texas in the American League West. The Rangers spent their weekend losing four in a row to Toronto.

But talk of playoff contention was pretty far-fetched after Sunday's defeat. The Yankees clearly exposed all of the Angels' weaknesses in the course of the four games.

"They knocked me around pretty good, so I can't say anything bad about them," Grahe said.

Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times, 1994.

TEAFORD, ELLIOTT, Mattingly Helps KO the Angels; Baseball: He hits three-run homer off Grahe after Langston tires in ninth, and Yankees win, 6-4.; Home Edition., Los Angeles Times, 07-25-1994, pp C-1.




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