Game 4 in review

October 06, 1997|By Peter Schmuck

Keys to the game

1 R. Johnson struggles early: Mariners ace Randy Johnson seemed uncomfortable from the start, giving up a one-out home run to slap hitter Jeff Reboulet and an RBI single to Cal Ripken in the first inning. The Big Unit, pitching on three days' rest, needed 35 pitches to get the first three outs, but kept manager Lou Piniella out of his bullpen with a gutsy eight-inning complete game.

2 Downsized lineup: Manager Davey Johnson went back to his Orioles Lite attack. There was only one change in the lineup that defeated Randy Johnson in Game 1. Designated hitter Geronimo Berroa moved from the cleanup spot to the No. 3 slot, switching with right fielder Eric Davis.

3 Piniella's lineup shuffle: Piniella tried to counter with a predominantly left-handed lineup against Mike Mussina, inserting switch-hitter Brent Gates and left-handed reserve Rob Ducey into the batting order, but neither had a significant offensive impact on the game.

Little big man

It always seems to be the little guys who come up big in the postseason, and Game 4 was no exception. Reboulet, who hit four home runs in 99 games during the regular season, worked the count full in the first inning and fouled off two pitches before pulling a line drive into the left-field stands to give the Orioles the lead.

The Chief

Berroa also had a big game against Randy Johnson. He doubled and scored the second run of the first inning and hit a bases-empty home run in the fifth to give Mussina a little breathing room.

One sore back to another

Randy Johnson missed most of last season with a back injury, but he got little sympathy from fellow back sufferer Ripken, who sliced a run-scoring single to right field in the Orioles' two-run first inning. Ripken added a single in the eighth inning for his seventh hit of the series (.438).

Mussina's big inning

Mussina looked a little shaky in the second inning, giving up a home run to Edgar Martinez and allowing a walk and a one-out single before getting out of the jam. He came back, however, and struck out the side in the third -- overpowering Ken Griffey for the final out.

... and record series

Mussina struck out seven yesterday and set an Orioles record for strikeouts in a postseason series with 16. The previous record of 15 was held by Jim Palmer, who struck out 15 in the 1971 World Series and the 1973 American League Championship Series.

Benitez steps up

Right-hander Armando Benitez sent a shiver through the sellout crowd when he walked the leadoff batter in the eighth inning, but he came back to strike out Joey Cora and get big swingers Alex Rodriguez and Griffey on infield tappers to bridge the gap between Mussina and closer Randy Myers.

Myers gets another ball

Myers finally got a save opportunity in the fourth game of the series, coming on to record his seventh career postseason save in impressive fashion. He struck out Martinez and Roberto Kelly before Jay Buhner grounded to short for the out that set off the fireworks in center field.

Tough day for Anderson

Orioles center fielder Brady Anderson struck out all four times against Randy Johnson yesterday but still finished the series with a .353 batting average, a home run and four RBIs.

Big plays

Left fielder Jeffrey Hammonds helped keep the pressure off Mussina when he ranged into shallow center field to make a diving catch on a pop fly by Rodriguez in the sixth inning.

Mussina helped himself in the fifth, preventing a leadoff single by Gates when he speared a sizzling line drive up the middle.

Mariners right fielder Buhner made a diving catch in the seventh inning to rob Hammonds of an apparent double.

Quote of the day

Davey Johnson: "If someone had told me the Big Unit would start five times against us and we would win all five of them, I'd say they were crazy."

Pub Date: 10/06/97

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