AN AGREEMENT securing Amtrak’s continued operation of three Chicago ’corridor’ services was announced on January 14. Illinois Department of Transportation had been threatening to invite open tenders for the State House to St Louis, Illini to Carbondale and Illinois Zephyr to Quincy, in an effort to lower the state’s subsidy payments.Amtrak said that it had been extremely aggressive in its efforts to retain the franchise and has made a number of concessions to win what it called ’an innovative, multi-year package’. Subject to annual appropriations from the state legislature, Illinois will pay US$7m in 1997-98, US$7·55m in 1998-99 and US$7·95m in 1999-2000, with Amtrak bearing the risk of any losses. The operator has promised to enhance service levels, improve productivity and develop a pricing structure affordable to Illinois and other states wishing to support services.Amtrak will operate the six return trips under parameters outlined by Illinois DOT including timings, scheduling and minimum seating capacity on each train. Food service must also be provided. Penalties will be payable if a train departs from an originating point more than 30min late or if departures from points of origin are less than 99% on time annually.
With the victory the Angels are still only 9-19, needing plenty more like this one before they can realistically think about being in the playoff hunt again.For a day, though, they could at least savor something, mostly thanks to the best player in the majors doing his thing, at the plate and in center field.Trout’s 111 mph line drive that rocketed over the head of shortstop Marcus Semien in the second inning went all the way to the wall, driving in two runs. Trout, who had also gotten an RBI on a grounder in the first inning, helped the Angels to four quick runs.At that point, they certainly hoped to cruise to the much-needed victory, but nothing has come easy for this team.The A’s chipped away with single runs in the second, fourth and fifth against Canning. Andriese was the first out of the bullpen, and he contributed by retiring seven in a row to hold the lead through the seventh.With the heart of the A’s order due in the eighth, Manager Joe Maddon didn’t bother waiting to use Buttrey, who has been his preferred closer lately.Buttrey said he didn’t actually feel great, and when he got to a 3-and-2 count on Olson leading off the inning, he threw what he called “a stupid pitch.” It was a fastball low and in, just were most left-handed hitters like it, and Olson lashed it to center.“The moment it’s hit, you knew he had to time it perfectly and he could catch it,” Maddon said, adding that Trout’s dive was technically perfect. “He couldn’t have done it any better.”The catch was notable for Trout because for much of his career he hasn’t dove for as many balls as other center fielders. That’s fine with the Angels, who prefer he keeps himself healthy. Trout also has not been rated well over the years by many defensive metrics, which is partly because he plays so deep that balls fall in front of him.On this ball, though, Trout faced the game-on-the-line decision on whether he should dive. If he dove and missed it, the tying run is in scoring position with no outs, and the entire complexion of the inning changes. The safe play would be to let it fall for a single.Trout described the catch as if it were routine.“Off the bat I thought I got a good jump,” Trout said. “Obviously I can’t let that ball get behind me. I got a good read on it and made the catch.”After that, Buttrey had no more issues. He threw six pitches to Olson, and then only 13 more to retire the next five hitters in order. It was only the fifth time in Buttrey’s big league career that he’d pitched two innings and the second time he’d done so without allowing a baserunner. It was only his second two-inning save.“You’re seeing what Ty’s capable of doing,” Maddon said. “And I want to believe he’s gonna gain a lot of confidence from that. It’s a six-out save but he did it in a big way, with very few pitches.”Related Articles Trout’s diving catch may have saved the entire game by preventing what would have been a leadoff extra base hit the Angels’ 4-3 victory over the A’s in Oakland on Saturday.An ugly four-game losing streak came to an end thanks to Trout’s diving catch, along with the three RBIs he had earlier in the game to build a 4-0 lead.Rather than cruising to a victory, they had to sweat it out, with Matt Andriese and Buttrey splitting all 13 of the outs left on the table when starter Griffin Canning departed in the fifth.“It means a lot, you know when we’re struggling,” said Buttrey, who picked up the six-out save. “I mean we had really great at-bats. Timely hitting. Good pitching. That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what I feel like this team can do and everyone knows that. Hopefully we can get some momentum.” After Ty Buttrey made what he didn’t feel was a very good pitch to A’s No. 3 hitter Matt Olson with the game on the line in the eighth inning, he turned around and saw the ball shooting into center field with Mike Trout racing after it.“Well, something cool is gonna happen,” Buttrey recalled thinking. “Of course, he got it. Dove for it and saved a double.” Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros