Alomar is glad to turn 0-for tables Reaches each time to end 'slump' AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES


TORONTO -- Roberto Alomar was hitless in the first two games of the American League Championship Series, but he didn't think that deserved to be big news.

"You make such a deal if someone is 0-for-8," Alomar said after reaching base five straight times yesterday (two walks, three singles) in the Blue Notebook

Jays' 5-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. "If someone is 0-for-8 during the regular season, you don't say anything.

"I just give credit to the White Sox's pitching staff," said Alomar. "They've done a great job. I've had to adjust to the way they're pitching me and thankfully I went out there and got three hits."

Actually, what brought the glare of the spotlight on Alomar after the first two games was the fact that he and leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson were 0-for-17. Henderson has made a slight recovery with three hits, including two doubles, in the past two games.

Powerful statement

Of all the people on the White Sox roster, with the exception of the pitchers, Lance Johnson is the least likely to put on a display of power. So, naturally, the little center fielder took a lot of kidding about his performance in Game 4.

"They told me before the game that the ball was really carrying -- even Lance hit a few out," said White Sox manager Gene Lamont.

"We've been on Lance all season because he was the only one of the regulars without a home run," said Frank Thomas. "I guess he was just waiting for the right time."

Johnson had a two-run homer and two-run triple off Todd Stottlemyre to spark the 7-4 win that enabled the White Sox to even the series at two games Saturday night. He had gone 540 at-bats without a home run during the regular season and had only four in 2,612 at-bats in his career.

"If I tried, I could hit seven or eight [in a season] -- and be out of the game in two or three years," said Johnson. "I hit all my home runs in batting practice and once in awhile I hit one in a game."

Going into the game, Johnson had only a .100 career average against Stottlemyre (3-for-30) and was 0-for-7 this year. "That just goes to show you what you do during the regular season really doesn't mean anything," said Stottlemyre.

As startling as Johnson's homer was, his triple was even more so -- for a different reason. It went over the head of Devon White, the premier center fielder in the American League, who appeared to misjudge the ball at the last instant.

In his patented glide, White was slowing down when the ball went over his glove and hit the middle of the fence. "Devo [White] usually plays me shallow," said Johnson, whose gap shots have enabled him to lead the American League in triples the past three years.

Home sweet home

Even though his team lost the first two games of the ALCS at Comiskey Park, Lamont is happy to be going back home.

"There were a lot of people in Chicago who didn't think we'd get back to play another game," he said.

"If you can go to Toronto and win two of three, I think you're happy," said Lamont. "The other two games we played there [Comiskey], we just didn't get the big hit. Hopefully that will change."

Walk this way

Thomas, who hit a mammoth 443-foot home run Saturday night, walked nine times in the first four games, an ALCS record. Meanwhile, teammate Ron Karkovice is the only player who's been in every game and doesn't have a hit.

No offense, Dave. . .

Asked if he could think of a better pitcher than Dave Stewart [the Blue Jays' Game 6 starter who is 7-0 in ALCS play] for a possible clinching game, Toronto manager Cito Gaston quipped: Young . . . but it's nice to have Dave going."

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