Right off the bat, Ogea gets serious Pitcher gains enough runs with own hitting prowess

October 26, 1997|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

MIAMI -- As Chad Ogea walked back to the Cleveland Indians' dugout after scoring in the fifth inning last night, he slipped his helmet under his left arm, tugged at his batting glove and tried to suppress a grin.

The moment wouldn't allow it.

Standing in against one of baseball's toughest pitchers, Florida's Kevin Brown, Ogea took a couple of whacks at the designated-hitter rule and made solid contact. He collected two hits, knocked in two runs and helped himself to a 4-1 victory in Game 6 of the World Series.

Cleveland has spent the entire postseason finding new and creative ways to win. Botched suicide squeezes. Two-run wild pitches. And then this -- when the Indians needed a win most.

Having gone 0-for-2 in Game 2, Ogea batted in the second inning with the bases loaded and one out. Brown already had issued two walks. He was coming after Ogea hard -- the only way he knows how to throw -- and the Cleveland pitcher held his ground.

The battle seemed to go on forever, like the Series itself. Unwilling to give in, Ogea kept fouling off pitches, including one that bounced off the plate and struck him on the right cheek, leaving a mark.

Ogea would leave one of his own on Brown's next offering. With the count 2-2, he took another cut and lined a single to right, the ball barely getting past the outstretched glove of Marlins first baseman Jeff Conine. Two runs scored, making Ogea the first pitcher to have a multi-RBI game in the World Series since Oakland's Mike Moore in 1989, against San Francisco. It also JTC was Ogea's first major-league hit, and the first RBI by an Indians pitcher since Steve Dunning on Sept. 19, 1972, before the DH rule took affect.

Ogea credited his father for teaching him how to hit, and he surely made his dad proud.

"I just tried to swing hard in case I hit the ball," he said. "My father always taught me to hit to right field, so I tried to do that."

Cleveland's dugout erupted. Brown, immensely competitive, tried not to do the same.

Ogea led off the fifth inning with the Indians ahead, 3-0. At that point, the Marlins had as many hits as he did. Ogea then one-upped them, jumping on the first pitch from Brown and grounding a double down the right-field line.

It was the first double by a pitcher in the World Series since Toronto's Al Leiter, who will start Game 7 for the Marlins tonight, in 1993 against Philadelphia, and the first two-hit game by a pitcher since Toronto's David Cone in 1992 against Atlanta. The last pitcher with two hits and two RBIs in a Series game was Mickey Lolich of Detroit in 1968.

It almost was more than Ogea bargained for. He moved to third on a Bip Roberts single, then tagged and scored on a fly ball to center by Omar Vizquel. After reaching the dugout and exchanging high-fives, he sat leaning forward, gasping for air as he poured water down the back of his head and neck. Pitcher Orel Hershiser, no stranger to base running from his days with the Los Angeles Dodgers, walked over to make sure an ambulance wasn't needed.

Florida pitchers could rest easy after that. Hargrove removed Ogea after a leadoff walk in the sixth, denying him a chance at a complete game. He allowed one run and four hits and collected his second victory of the Series, leaving his ERA at 1.54, after going 0-2 in the American League Championship Series.

Ogea also became the first Indians pitcher to get a hit in the World Series since Early Wynn in 1954, against the New York Giants, and the first with an RBI in the Series since Jim Bagby in 1920, against Brooklyn.

Pub Date: 10/26/97

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