Key keeps O's close but can't keep pace Left-hander yields 2 runs, gives praise to Fassero

October 05, 1997|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

He didn't pitch that long or that badly but Jimmy Key simply was no match for Jeff Fassero yesterday.

The Orioles' starter accomplished the mission of keeping his team in the game during a 76-pitch stint that ended with one Seattle Mariners runner on and two out in the fifth inning.

It wasn't vintage Key, but it was good enough for most games. Fassero was just too good.

"All in all, I didn't throw that bad," said Key, who was extricated from his final jam when Alan Mills picked Ken Griffey off first base. "I thought I kept the game in check pretty well."

The Camden Yards slide continued for the veteran left-hander, who went more than four months without a home victory and was 1-8 here in his previous 11 starts.

But Key simply saluted his mound adversary rather than focus on himself.

"He [Fassero] pitched himself a great game," Key said. "He was getting ahead of guys, making them expand the strike zone and making them swing at balls [rather than strikes]. That's the way to pitch."

The two runs Key allowed came on a double to left by Roberto Kelly in the third and a single by Griffey in the fifth. He did not walk a batter and benefited from excellent defense from Mike Bordick and Jeffrey Hammonds.

He said he did not say anything to manager Davey Johnson when he was removed with Edgar Martinez waiting in the batter's box.

"At the time, he [Johnson] felt like he needed to make a move," Key said. "We had a rested bullpen. We had given our guys a chance and I was happy about that."

Pitching coach Ray Miller said Key was "all right, but he was getting a little up in the third and fourth inning. He gave up a couple runs but didn't walk anybody and pitched decently."

The Mariners entered the game with some lofty lifetime batting averages against Key. Seven of yesterday's starters had hit .320 or better against him.

In addition, Key pitched 212 1/3 innings this season, his highest total since 1993, and there was suspicion that, at age 36, he wore down during his second-half skid.

The way Fassero went, though, those numbers didn't seem to matter.

"We just couldn't get a big hit with men on base early," said Key, referring to the four runners stranded in the first and third innings. "And they did. That was the difference."

The defeat dropped Key's postseason record to 5-3. He won the deciding game of the 1992 and 1996 World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, respectively. His last postseason loss had been to the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of last year's World Series, 4-0.

Now, he is hoping for what Randy Johnson receives today another chance.

"I hope I get to pitch in the next round," he said.

Stuck at home

Yesterday's loss extended Jimmy Key's struggles in home games. He has just one win at Camden Yards since May 7.

Day .... Opp. .. IP .. H .. ER .. Res

10/04 .. Sea ... 4 2/3 .. 8 ... 2 .. L 4-2

9/21 ... Det ... 4 2/3 .. 7 ... 5 .. L 11-3

9/16 ... Cle ... 7 2/3 .. 4 ... 0 .. W 7-2

9/11 ... NYY ... 5 1/3 .. 6 ... 6 .. L 14-2

8/31 ... NYM ... 6 ... 6 ... 4 .. L 4-1

8/26 .... KC ... 6 2/3 .. 7 ... 3 .. ND

8/15 ... Sea ... 4 1/3 .. 9 ... 6 .. L 8-3

7/16 ... Bos ... 6 1/3 .. 8 ... 4 .. L 4-1

7/11 ... Mil ... 6 ... 6 ... 2 .. L 3-1

6/28 ... Tor ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 .. L 5-2

6/18 ... Mon ... 7 1/3 .. 3 ... 1 .. L 1-0

6/3 .... NYY ... 7 ... 8 ... 5 .. ND

Tot. .......... 70 .. 75 .. 40 .. 1-9

Pub Date: 10/05/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.