For starters, Orioles pound Mariners' ace Lineup moves pay off

Mussina tops Johnson

AL PLAYOFFS, Game 1, Orioles 9, Mariners 3

October 02, 1997|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

SEATTLE -- Mariners superstar Randy Johnson is bigger than the Space Needle around here, but once again last night, he found himself looking up at a downsized Orioles lineup.

It was right-hander Mike Mussina who cast the giant shadow, overpowering the Mariners on the way to a 9-3 victory that turned the Kingdome eerily quiet and turned the AL Division Series decidedly in the Orioles' favor.

Of course, it was only the opener of a best-of-five series, but it was a critical game for the Mariners, who have just one more home game today (4: 07 p.m. EDT) to build some momentum before the series shifts to Camden Yards for Game 3 on Saturday and -- if necessary -- Games 4 and 5.

Former Orioles left-hander Jamie Moyer suddenly finds himself in a must-win situation against right-hander Scott Erickson in Game 2, thanks to Mussina's first postseason victory and a punchy performance by a lineup that started the game without left-handed hitting stars Rafael Palmeiro, B. J. Surhoff and Roberto Alomar.

Talk about a feel-good first night. Mussina gave up just five hits and struck out nine over seven innings, and right fielder Eric Davis delivered a decisive two-run single off Johnson in a four-run fifth inning that toppled the first major obstacle on the road to the World Series.

It was a watershed game for Mussina, the Orioles ace who overcame the notion that he is not a big-game pitcher by holding the mighty Mariners to just two runs in seven innings.

Pub Date: 10/02/97

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