Game 1 in review

October 09, 1997|By Peter Schmuck

Keys to the game

1. Erickson comes up big again: Right-hander Scott Erickson didn't waste any time getting into his rhythm. He retired the side in order in the first and gave up four singles over eight innings in one of the best performances of his career. He was so successful keeping the ball down in the strike zone that the Indians hit just six balls out of the infield.

2. Anderson muscles up: Orioles center fielder Brady Anderson sent the first pitch of the night from Cleveland starter Chad Ogea into the temporary bleachers on the flag court for his fifth leadoff home run of the season and his second big moment in the game. He crashed the center-field fence in the top of the first inning to rob Manny Ramirez of an extra-base hit, prompting the first of several ovations from the sellout crowd.

3. Ogea struggles early: Indians starter Chad Ogea earned the Game 1 starting assignment on the merits of his regular season performance against the Orioles, but he did not resemble the pitcher who had a two-hitter against them earlier in the season and was 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three 1997 starts. He surrendered the leadoff homer to Anderson in the first inning and gave up a two-run shot to Roberto Alomar in the third. Ogea settled down after that to give up just the three runs, but that was three too many with Erickson on top of his game.

Good omen

Anderson's first-inning home run was his second leadoff homer in postseason play. His first came in Game 1 of last year's Division Series, so both the Orioles and Indians remember it well.

Record performance

Third baseman Cal Ripken tied an ALCS record with six assists at third base. The record is held by the A's Sal Bando (1972), the Orioles' Todd Cruz (1983), the Tigers' Tom Brookens (1987) and the Yankees' Wade Boggs (1996).

Left is right

The predominantly right-handed lineup that manager Davey Johnson put together for Seattle Mariners ace Randy Johnson got a lot of credit for the club's Division Series victory, but the Orioles' left-handed hitters asserted themselves in the opener of the American League Championship Series. The first four Orioles hits -- including the early-inning home runs by Anderson and Alomar -- were by left-handed hitters.

Happier times

Nearly lost in all the playoff hoopla was the presence of umpire John Hirschbeck at second base, where he chatted amiably with Orioles second baseman Alomar in the first inning. At this time last year, Alomar and Hirschbeck were the focus of a huge controversy, but both vowed to put the spitting incident behind them, and they appear to have succeeded.

Myers again

Left-hander Randy Myers continued his amazing roll, pitching a scoreless ninth inning to record his second save of this postseason and the eighth postseason save of his career. In postseason play, Myers has pitched 23 1/3 innings during his career and given up just nine hits and one earned run. For those without a calculator, that works out to an 0.39 ERA.

Shutout fact

It was the first ALCS shutout since Dennis Martinez, Julian Tavarez and Jose Mesa combined to shut out the Seattle Mariners on Oct. 16, 1995.

Big plays

Anderson set the defensive tone in the first inning when he ran down a long fly ball by Ramirez and crashed the center-field fence to rob him of an extra-base hit.

Ripken let the air out of a potential Indians rally when he snagged a no-out liner by Bip Roberts and caught Marquis Grissom too far off first base for a big sixth-inning double play.

Indians left fielder Brian Giles may have saved two runs in the bottom of the sixth when he pulled a long fly ball by Lenny Webster back into the ballpark.

Quote of the day

Anderson on the rarity of making a big catch and hitting a home run on back-to-back pitches: "I don't think there have been many times in my career where I've hit the first pitch for a home run. So it's very doubtful that anything like that has happened, at least not to me."

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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