Bruce Kison of the California Angels mowed down the powerful Milwaukee Brewer attack to post a five-hit, 4-2 victory last night and give the host Angels a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Championship Series.
Rain postponed the National League series opener between the Braves and the Cardinals in St. Louis yesterday afternoon. With Atlanta ahead, 1-0, the contest was just two outs short of the five-inning minimum required for the game to stand.
In the A.L. game the Angels themselves only amassed six hits. But California Manager Gene Mauch made the most of them by letting his stronger batters hit away, even several times with a 3-0 count, and having his weaker batters lay the ball down. In fact, the last two batters in the Angel lineup, shortstop Tim Foli and catcher Bob Boone, drove in three of California's four runs.
The Angels jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Centerfielder Fred Lynn popped a single into right-center field just in front of Gorman Thomas and Charlie Moore. Doug DeCinces's double to left moved Lynn to third.
Milwaukee starter Pete Vukovich then threw one of the night's several errant pitches at Angel second baseman Bobby Grich, hitting him on the thigh Grich took first loading the bases for shortstop Tim Foli. Usually not a dangerous hitter. Foli managed to line a short single to left, scoring Eynn Catcher Bob Boone laid down a fine squeeze bunt, bringing DeCinces in. Vukovich escaped without further damage by getting left fielder Brian Downing to pop up, stranding two California runners.
In the bottom of the third inning. Reggie Jackson launched a chest-high fastball straight over the 401-ft. sign in center. The RBI was Jackson's 18th in American League Championship Series play, a new record.
The Angels got to Vukovich again in the fourth inning. DeCines walked, Grich singled him to second. Foli sacrificed him to third, and Boone knocked him home with a sacrifice fly to right field. Moore caught the fly running away from the plate, wheeled, and threw home, making the impossible play surprisingly close, but DeCinces, though slowed by this year's grom pulls, was able to score.
Vukovich allowed no more hits the entire game, but it was too late. Milwaukee picked up two runs on Paul Molitor's fifth inning inside the park homer, but Kison retired the last 13 Brewers he faced to seal the victory.
In the National League series, Atlanta grabbed a 1-0 first inning lead, but the elements triumphed when rain forced a post ponement with one out in the bottom of the fifth. The postponement pushes back the series schedule by a day, the series opener will be started once more tonight.
Claudell Washington smashed a double to the left-field fence to lead off first. after Ratacl Ramitez sacrificed Washington to third, Chris Chambliss worked St. Louis starter Joaquin Andujar for a two-out single to bat in the game's only run.
Atlanta are Phil Niekro survived two Cardinal uprisings in his 4-1-3 innings of shutout ball. Niekro escaped a two-out, bases loaded jam in the first when he retired George Hendrick on a fly ball. Lonnie Smith tripled with two down in the third, but Niekro got Keith Hernandez on a grounder to end the threat.
After Ozzie Smith opened the fifth with a ground out, the rains interrupted play. After two hours and 28 minutes of delay, league President Chub Feeney ordered the game postponed.