Up 2-0, O's reign in Seattle Road sweep puts team on brink of returning to league title series

Mariners face elimination tomorrow at Camden Yards

October 03, 1997|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

SEATTLE -- The Orioles may have struggled down the stretch and kept everyone in suspense in September, but they are threatening to take all the drama out of their Division Series against the Seattle Mariners.

Four days after arriving in Seattle full of trepidation about baseball's hit-the-road home-field advantage, the Orioles headed back to Baltimore last night with a pair of lopsided road victories and a chance to sweep the best-of-five playoff series when it resumes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards.

Right-hander Scott Erickson pitched a strong 6 2/3 innings and the club got production from every slot in the lineup on the way to a 9-3 victory at the Kingdome that left the Mariners needing to make history to advance to the American League Championship Series.

No major-league team has lost the first two games of a best-of-five playoff at home and recovered to win the series. The Orioles, looking to advance to the ALCS for the second consecutive year, will have the champagne on ice tomorrow when postseason veteran Jimmy Key faces Mariners left-hander Jeff Fassero in Game 3.

"Usually on the road you want to split," said Erickson, who recorded his first career postseason win in seven starts. "Taking two is a big advantage, but we're a long way from finished."

The Mariners are close to being finished, but they continued to talk tough.

"They still have to win one more before it's over," said Mariners superstar Ken Griffey. "We've been in this position once before. And it worked out for us."

The Mariners fell behind by two games before defeating the New York Yankees in the 1995 Division Series, but there was one major difference. They lost the first two games on the road and went home for the last three.

Yesterday, the Orioles' batting order -- this time weighted predominantly toward the left-handed hitters that were held out of Game 1 against Randy Johnson -- teed off on the Mariners' bullpen and won by the same score as the night before.

Harold Baines homered for the first Orioles run in the second inning. Brady Anderson added a two-run shot in the seventh. And Cal Ripken had a pair of doubles.

Ripken has five hits in nine at-bats (.556) but is not the Orioles' leading hitter in the series. Shortstop Mike Bordick is batting .667, with four hits in six at-bats.

Pub Date: 10/03/97

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