Game 6 in review

October 16, 1997|By Peter Schmuck

Keys to the game

1 Someone finally steps up: Utility player Tony Fernandez succeeded where everyone in the power-packed Cleveland Indians offense had failed, hitting a home run onto the flag court in right field in the 11th inning to break the scoreless tie. Armando Benitez was on the mound for another devastating swing, and would take his second loss of the series.

2 Orioles' offense locks up: The Orioles had Indians starter Charles Nagy on the ropes all day and could not get a key hit, going 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and managing just one ball out of the infield in those clutch situations.

3 Mussina very sharp: Mike Mussina, who pitched seven innings and struck out a record 15 batters in Game 3, retired the first 12 batters he faced yesterday and gave up one hit over eight innings, but the Orioles never scored in either game while he was on the mound. In all, he pitched 17 consecutive innings -- dating to the Division Series -- without the Orioles crossing the plate.

Nagy gets off hook early

Indians starter Charles Nagy struggled with his control in the first inning, walking two batters and giving up a long double to Geronimo Berroa, but he did not give up a run. The Orioles also had a leadoff single and a two-out double in the second inning and did not score. Nagy settled down some, but still had to squirm a few more times before leaving in the eighth inning.

More Mussina records

Mussina set another batch of strikeout records yesterday. His fourth strikeout of the game gave him 19 for the American League Championship Series and moved him past the Toronto Blue Jays' Dave Stieb (1985) for most in an ALCS. His sixth of the game gave him the overall LCS record, passing Dwight Gooden, who had 20 for the New York Mets in 1988. In addition, Mussina's fifth of the game gave him 36 in the postseason, breaking the major-league record set in 1968 by St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Bob Gibson. Mussina had already set the LCS record for strikeouts in a game with 15 in Game 2 -- a record that was tied by the Florida Marlins' Livan Hernandez the following day. Mussina, who struck out 10 yesterday, became the third pitcher to have two double-figure strikeout games in the same postseason series, joining Sandy Koufax (1965) and Bob Gibson (1967 and 1968).

Discipline deficit

Reason No. 367 that the Orioles offense doesn't make the most out of opportunities. Four of the first seven Orioles batters in the game took Nagy to a three-ball count, forcing him to throw a lot of pitches and expend energy. Six of the next seven batters swung at the first pitch and -- in some cases -- helped him out of trouble.

O's offensive highlights

There weren't many, but Cal Ripken had a leadoff single in the second inning and a leadoff double in the fourth. He also walked in the eighth and 10th, reaching base four times in five plate appearances. Mike Bordick also had a multi-hit game, with a double and a single in four at-bats.

Big plays

The Indians made the defensive play of the game in the seventh inning, after the Orioles had put runners on first and second with no one out. Roberto Alomar laid down what appeared to be a perfect sacrifice bunt, but third baseman Matt Williams was on it quickly and threw out Bordick at third. Berroa followed with a double-play grounder.

Center fielder Brady Anderson ran right into a double play in the first inning, though it was through no fault of his own. He broke for second on a hit-and-run and Alomar grounded the ball up the middle. It would have been a hit, but shortstop Omar Vizquel was covering the second and turned an easy double play. Berroa followed with what might have been a two-run double.

Anderson slammed into the center-field fence to rob Jim Thome of a run-scoring, extra-base hit in the fifth inning. Though he appeared to bruise his ribs on the play, he remained in the game.

Quotes of the day

Benitez: "I didn't want to lose the game. I wanted to do my job. I made a mistake."

Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff: "They didn't outplay us and we didn't outplay them. They just won."

Pub Date: 10/16/97

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