Suddenly, Indians on brink Sandy Alomar wins it in 9th

O's one loss from elimination

October 13, 1997|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- They used to call it the Mistake by the Lake. Now, Cleveland has a revitalized civic center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, if the Orioles don't figure something out in a hurry, soon will have a second American League pennant in three years.

Catcher Sandy Alomar hit a dramatic, game-winning single off Armando Benitez in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Orioles to an 8-7 defeat and push them to the brink of elimination in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series. The victory gave the Indians a 3-1 lead in the series and put them in position to win the pennant tonight at Jacobs Field.

It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out the obvious. The Orioles have to win three games in a row to advance to the World Series. That has been done before, but it is not a position anyone in Baltimore ever envisioned when the Orioles were going wire-to-wire to win the American League East title.

Right-hander Scott Kamieniecki is scheduled to take the mound tonight against Cleveland's Chad Ogea, hoping to push the series back to Camden Yards and put it back in the hands of pitching ace Mike Mussina for Game 6. But the Indians clearly have the market cornered on October magic and momentum.

It started out to be feel-good night for the Orioles, who tied a playoff record with three home runs in the third inning to stake starter Scott Erickson to an early lead. But the Indians -- who have been finding ways to bounce back throughout the postseason -- battled back to tie the game, then took advantage of another strange play at the plate to take a two-run lead in the fifth.

They took the lead on a two-run wild pitch that left catcher Lenny Webster trying to explain himself for the second night in a row.

Pub Date: 10/13/97

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