DeCinces hits Ruthian stride

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Few hitters in the history of baseball have ever had a more incredible 10 days (July 30-Aug. 8) than third baseman Doug DeCinces of the California Angels. During that stretch, DeCinces twice hit three home runs in one game (first against Minnesota, then against Seattle) and 11 out of the park in 10 games overall.

Acquired during the winter from the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Dan Ford, who was in Angel Manager Gene Mauch's doghouse anyway, Doug has also played exceptionally well in the field.

Despite the fact California's been in and out of first place all year in the American League West, several of Mauch's players are unhappy with how often he sacrifices (sometimes as early as the first inning) with a team loaded with outstanding hitters. While most of them won't say so publicly, they would prefer that Gene go for the big inning, stop resting Reggie Jackson and Fred Lynn so much, and resist what they call over-managing.

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But Angel shortstop Tim Foli, who also played under Mauch at Montreal, says that all Gene is really doing is making the most of a strong bench, while keeping Jackson and Lynn fresh for the club's September stretch drive. California, which has never been completely comfortable with its pitching staff this year, recently pulled 41-year-old Luis Tiant out of the Mexican leagues. Now the Angels are trying to pry an unhappy Tommy John away from the New York Yankees for Bruce Kison.

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