Game 4 in review

October 13, 1997|By Peter Schmuck

Keys to the game

1 Late-night lightning: The Orioles were supposed to play better on the road, but the Indians have exploited their home-field advantage to win two games in their last at-bat and take a commanding, 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven ALCS. Catcher Sandy Alomar was the big hero again, lining a two-out, game-winning single into the gap in left-center to decide Game 4.

2 Erickson struggles: Right-hander Scott Erickson had been overpowering in his first start of the ALCS, combining with Randy Myers to shut the Indians out on four hits, but he gave up seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits over 4 2/3 innings last night and handed back a three-run lead before giving way to left-hander Arthur Rhodes in the fifth.

3 Welcome to Lenny's nightmare: Catcher Lenny Webster was in the eye of the hurricane again. He was the central character in an ugly play in the fifth inning that allowed the Indians to score two runs on a wild pitch by Rhodes. Webster chased down the ball, but his throw back to the plate hit base runner David Justice and bounced away, allowing Sandy Alomar to come around from second to score.

Wright wasn't right

Indians rookie Jaret Wright had pitched like a veteran in two playoff appearances against the New York Yankees, but he wilted under a shower of home runs in the third inning and did not come out for the fourth. He was replaced by left-hander Brian Anderson after Brady Anderson, Harold Baines and Rafael Palmeiro each deposited a ball into the right-field bleachers.

Sandy's super season

Sandy Alomar led the league in hitting during the first half of the season, put together a 30-game hitting streak and was the MVP of the All-Star Game at his home ballpark, but he keeps topping himself. He hit a game-saving home run that helped keep the Indians alive in the Division Series, and he came up big again last night, with a two-run homer in the second inning and the game-winning hit in the ninth.

Home run record

The three homers tied the postseason record for home runs in an inning, accomplished four times before, twice in games involving the Orioles. The Orioles did it when Mike Cuellar, Don Buford and Boog Powell homered off Jim Perry in Game 1 of the 1970 ALCS against the Minnesota Twins. The New York Yankees did it last year in the ALCS on Oct. 13 against the Orioles, when Jim Leyritz, Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry homered in Game 5.

Brady back to back

Center fielder Anderson made a spectacular diving catch in the bottom of the second inning last night and came back in the top of the third to hit his second home run of the series.

It was similar to his performance in the first inning of Game 1, when he climbed the center-field wall to make the final out and hit the next pitch of the game onto the flag court at Camden Yards.

Figuring out Erickson

Indians outfielder Manny Ramirez had Erickson all figured out. He singled in the first inning, doubled in the third and hit a home run in the fifth. Ramirez is 6-for-14 in the series, which shouldn't come as a big surprise after the way he swung the bat against the Orioles during the regular season. He batted .410 with a home run and seven RBIs in 11 games.

Big plays

Anderson made the highlight play of the game when he went airborne to spear a potential RBI double by Matt Williams in the bottom of the second inning.

Second baseman Roberto Alomar saved a run in the fourth when he charged a high chopper by Bip Roberts and made a great athletic play to turn an apparent infield hit into the final out. If he had been a split-second slower, Grissom would have scored from third to make it a one-run game.

Third baseman Cal Ripken turned a big double play in the third inning, ranging far to his left to cut off a bouncer by Justice and combining with Alomar to snuff out a budding Indians rally.

Quote of the day

Manager Davey Johnson on the unusual play at the plate in the fifth inning: "I've seen some strange things happen but that's the first time I've ever seen two runs score on a wild pitch."

Pub Date: 10/13/97

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