With a career-high 16-game hitting streak and the best batting average in the majors, Wally Joyner is having quite a ride.
But he and the Angels are taking a low-key approach to his hot streak, as if talking about it too much could chill it.Joyner singled and homered to raise his batting average to .387 Monday night as the California Angels defeated the Chicago White Sox 6-3, giving Mark Langston his fourth straight win.
Joyner's hitting streak matches Greg Vaughn of Milwaukee and Brett Butler of Los Angeles for the longest in the majors this season. But he is far from effusive in discussing his remarkable rebound after missing August and September with a broken kneecap.
"It feels good," Joyner said. "I can't explain it, but I just hope it stays with me for a while."
Angels manager Doug Rader called Joyner's groove "one of the best I've ever seen," but said he doesn't want to draw too much attention to it.
Donnie Hill, however, couldn't help it: "Wow. It's incredible. Everything he hits is a rocket."
Joyner's seventh homer, to straightaway center in the eighth inning, was his sixth in the last 13 games and one of four by the Angels off Melido Perez.
Perez (1-4) allowed eight hits in 7 2-3 innings and struck out six. The homers made a respectable outing look disastrous, White Sox manager Jeff Torborg said.
"He didn't make many mistakes, but they jumped on the mistakes he made," Torborg said. "That's pretty good hitting. You can make mistakes all day long and they can pop them up. But they got right on them."
After a four-run fourth inning keyed by Hill's three-run homer gave California a 4-1 lead, Perez gave up just one hit over the next three innings until Joyner's homer leading off the eighth.
Chicago pulled to within 4-3 in the sixth on Carlton Fisk's two-run double off the glove of left fielder Luis Polonia. Langston escaped further damage, though, by striking out Sammy Sosa and retiring Scott Fletcher on a flyout.
The White Sox put runners on second and third with one out in the eighth, but Jeff Robinson struck out Fisk and got Sosa on a flyout. Two batters after Joyner's homer, Dave Winfield hit his fifth home run.
Langston (5-1) allowed seven hits in 7 1-3 innings, struck out six and walked one. Bryan Harvey pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 10 chances, giving the Angels their third consecutive victory and eighth in 11 games.
"I thought he was pretty sharp," said Frank Thomas, whose sixth home run gave Chicago the lead in the first. "He had really good stuff. He only made a couple of mistakes. He did a good job keeping people off balance with the curveballs and changeup and he also had a good heater."
Gary Gaetti tied the score in the fourth with his fifth home run. Then with two outs, Perez walked Lance Parrish, Bobby Rose singled and Hill homered for the first time since last Sept. 21.
"That was a strange inning," Torborg said. "It was a game of inches. The pitch to Parrish was borderline and the next thing you know, a base hit and a home run. But Melido did a heck of a job coming back from that."