Keys to the game
1 Benitez gives it up: Just when it looked as if the Orioles were halfway to the World Series, reliever Armando Benitez surrendered a three-run home run to Marquis Grissom in the eighth inning to breathe life back into the Cleveland Indians. The home run was the first hit given up in four innings of work by the Orioles' bullpen, but it was enough to even the series at a game apiece.
2 Key labors: Left-hander Jimmy Key was all over the place in the first inning. He gave up two runs, both on a home run by Manny Ramirez, and set a postseason record by hitting three batters -- Omar Vizquel, David Justice and Tony Fernandez -- in one inning. He was lucky to get off so lightly after facing eight batters and allowing five to reach base, and that luck would hold until he turned the game over to Scott Kamieniecki in the fifth. The Indians were a combined 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position before Key left.
3 Orioles waste big hits: Cal Ripken hit a two-run homer in the second inning to bring the Orioles back from a two-run deficit and Mike Bordick sliced a tie-breaking, two-run single to right in the sixth, but Grissom wiped the smiles off their faces with his dramatic home run off Benitez.
The Orioles thought they were out of the eighth inning when Jim Thome went halfway around on a full-count pitch, but third base umpire Larry McCoy ruled that Thome did not go far enough. Thome walked to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, and Grissom launched the ball over the center-field fence.
Key's dubious record
The three hit batsmen in the first inning set a record for batters hit in a single inning in postseason play and tied the record for hit batsmen in a postseason game. Just to put that record performance in perspective, consider that Key hit only five batters in 212 1/3 innings in the regular season.
On the run
The Indians were determined to run on Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles, apparently without regard to who was on base. Matt Williams stole second in the first inning and Grissom went to second uncontested in the fourth.
Hargrove has gone mostly with Bip Roberts at the top of the lineup since the Indians acquired him from the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 31, relegating Grissom to the No. 9 hole. Last night, he had reason to regret that after Grissom singled in his first two at-bats and Roberts made the first out in three of the first four innings. But Hargrove had no regrets after Grissom's game-winning homer.
Justice, the Indians' designated hitter last night, left the game in the eighth inning with a strained left shoulder. He suffered the injury diving back to second base on a pickoff play in the first inning, but remained in the game until Jeff Branson pinch hit for him in the eighth.
Orioles left fielder B. J. Surhoff made a diving catch on a shallow fly ball by Vizquel in the second inning, robbing him of a bloop hit and taking some heat off Key.
Ripken and Roberto Alomar turned a slick double play in the fourth inning to get Key off the hook again. Ripken pounced on a bouncer by Ramirez and got rid of the ball quickly. Alomar made a tough relay with Vizquel bearing down hard on him at second base.
First baseman Rafael Palmeiro sprawled over the tarp after racing down the right-field line to catch a pop foul off the bat of Williams in the fifth inning.
Familiar young face
The national anthem was sung by a young man who bore a striking resemblance to former Orioles shortstop Mark Belanger. That's because it was Robert Belanger, Mark's son, who is a professional vocalist in Baltimore.
Quote of the day
Orioles manager Davey Johnson: "Armando's been almost letter-perfect all year. I'm not going to second-guess myself right now because we ended up getting beat. I wouldn't be sitting here right now if he wasn't real good this year."
Pub Date: 10/10/97