A Good Run of Salmon
The Angels' 25-year-old rightfielder, Tim Salmon, says he's not a "numbers guy" or a "baseball historian." That's too bad, because it means he can't fully appreciate what he accomplished last week. In successive games Salmon went 4 for 5, 4 for 5 and 5 for 5, joining Joe Cronin (1933) and Walt Dropo (1952) as the only American Leaguers to get 13 hits over three consecutive games.
Salmon's binge included seven singles, two doubles, a triple and three homers off nine pitchers, an outburst that raised his average from .272 to .336.
"It was weird," said Salmon, "I didn't feel any different at the plate than if I had gone 0 for 4—except I was on base more. It didn't feel like I'd expect it to feel. There are times I go up there thinking, I know I'm going hit this guy good—but I didn't feel that way."
Until last week Salmon, the 1993 American League Rookie of the Year, hadn't had a four-hit game as a major leaguer. On May 10 he singled, doubled and tripled against the Rangers in a game suspended by curfew after eight innings. When the game resumed the next night, he singled in the 10th for his fourth hit. In the regularly scheduled game that night, he hit a homer and three singles. In his next game, last Friday night in Seattle, Salmon had two homers, two singles and a double, with a career-high five RBIs.
"Every time one of my teammates would get near me, he'd make sizzling sounds, like I was too hot," he said. "They'd ask me, 'Can I touch your bats?' "
Last Saturday, Salmon took aim at the league record of 15 hits in four straight games (held by three players) and the post-1900 major league record of 16, set by Brooklyn's Milt Stock in 1925. Salmon walked in the first inning and homered in the second but went hitless in his final three at bats.
On Sunday he homered again.
The atrocious start by closer Mitch Williams has become a worry for the Astros, who at week's end had fallen live games behind the front-running Reds in the National League Central. Williams, acquired from the Phillies in the off-season, had pitched 14? innings and allowed 14 runs, 17 hits (including three homers) and 18 walks in going 1-3 with an 8.79 ERA through Sunday. He was throwing his fastball in the mid-80's, down from his usual low 90's.