Canseco strikes back, beats Olson, Orioles in 11 2-out, 2-run single rallies A's to 3-2 win

July 15, 1991|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Sun Staff Correspondent

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The rematch went to Jose Canseco, whose previous encounter with Baltimore Orioles stopper Gregg Olson came down to a curveball and a called third strike in the ninth inning of Saturday's no-hitter.

This time, it was a fastball in the 11th, and Canseco got even. His two-run single brought the Oakland Athletics from behind to score a 3-2 victory before 31,425 at the Oakland Coliseum.

This time, Olson missed with a couple of two-strike curveballs and backed himself into a fastball with a wild pitch that moved the tying and winning runs into scoring position. Canseco lined it into right field to score Jamie Quirk and Rickey Henderson and give manager Tony La Russa his 1,000th managerial victory.

"I'm sure if he had thrown me that great curveball in the strike zone, the game would have been over," Canseco said.

Instead, Olson's first curveball broke just outside. The next one bounced all the way to the screen and left the count full. It was a fastball situation. Olson has a very live fastball. Canseco just did a great job of getting the bat on it.

"It's easy to second-guess and say, 'Why didn't I throw him the curveball?' " Olson said, "but I refuse to second-guess myself. On a different day, if my curveball is three inches in, it might have been a different game."

The 11th inning was the game within the game. The Orioles came back from their four-man no-hitter with another strong pitching performance -- this one by right-hander Roy Smith -- but had managed just a second-inning run off A's starter Mike Moore. Oakland tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Harold Baines in the fourth.

That was it for 10 innings. The A's continued to struggle at the plate. The Orioles continued to squander scoring opportunities, wasting 12 runners before finally scoring a run on two-out RBI single in the 11th.

Enter Olson, who got Mike Gallego on a fly out to center before giving up a ground-ball single to former teammate Jamie Quirk. Rickey Henderson followed with a nubber to third for an infield hit, and Olson struck out Dave Henderson to set up the rematch with Canseco.

"That's a typical story for me this year," said Olson, referring to the two soft hits.

It was a typical story for Smith, too. He worked 8 2/3 innings and gave up seven hits -- six of them singles -- but was again denied his fifth victory of the year.

Smith had a tough act to follow, but he got right into the no-hit spirit by striking out the side in the first inning. That ran the Orioles string of hitless innings to 13 2/3 , dating back to a sixth-inning single by Baines on Friday night.

Baines would end the streak with a line drive to center field in the second, but between his two singles, 46 consecutive A's passed through the batter's box without getting a hit (including five walks).

TC The A's offensive slide was not over. Smith gave up a run on two hits in the fourth inning, but settled down to pitch into the ninth. He finally gave way to Flanagan with two out after Canseco delivered the A's sixth hit of the game.

It was the third solid performance in a row for Smith, who pitched into the eighth inning in his previous start and came away with a loss. He has given up six runs in his past 20 2/3 innings -- a 2.61 ERA over that span -- but came away 1-1 with a no-decision.

Smith has a tough time getting any respect from opposing hitters, because he does not throw very hard, but Canseco apparently was impressed.

"His fastball, combined with that big hook that takes forever to get there, looked like it was going 90 miles an hour," Canseco said. "You have to give him credit. He did a good job out there."

Canseco ended up with three hits, the last one bringing the A's out of their dugout in a post-game celebration that far outstripped the subdued reaction of the Orioles after Saturday's no-hitter.

La Russa was the first out of the dugout, sprinting to first base to congratulate Canseco, then almost apologizing for it afterward.

"When I got about halfway out there, I thought to myself, 'What am I doing?' " La Russa said. "I never do anything like that. I don't like the way it looks to the other team. I guess it was the 1,000th win and the way the game ended."

La Russa is only the third active manager to accrue 1,000 wins. Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson are the others.

Orioles-Athletics scoring

Orioles second: Horn flied out to right fielder Canseco. Evans hit by pitch. Segui walked, Evans to second. Gomez singled to left-center, Evans scored, Segui to second. Melvin grounded into double play, pitcher Moore to shortstop Bordick to first baseman McGwire, Gomez out. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left on. Orioles 1, Athletics 0.

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