Alomar's fielding plus reputation prevent run Phils don't capitalize on Jay's mistake


TORONTO -- Even though no out was recorded, last night's key play in Game 1 was one of two defensive gems turned in by Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar. And it undoubtedly was the Philadelphia Phillies' scouting report that kept them from taking the lead on the play.

It came in the sixth inning, with the score tied at 4 and the Phillies threatening to break the game open. Al Leiter had replaced erratic starter Juan Guzman and faced Mariano Duncan with runners on first and second and two out.

Duncan lined a sharp bouncer up the middle on which Alomar made a sensational diving stop, preventing the ball from going into center field. Kevin Stocker, who had been on second, made a wide turn around third.

It is on this type of play that Alomar often has trapped runners off third, and he was about to try it again. Third-base coach Larry Bowa alerted Stocker, and the rookie turned and dived back into third.

However, as he scrambled to his feet to make the throw, Alomar lost control of the ball and it rolled 20 feet away from him. Bowa tried too late to redirect Stocker, who was lying on the ground.

The play was pivotal in two ways. Alomar prevented the go-ahead run from scoring, and the Phillies missed a chance to take the lead when it might have affected strategy.

It was a clear case of Alomar's ability and reputation keeping an important run from scoring. In the bottom of the inning, John Olerud homered to break the tie, and Leiter survived his shaky start to pitch 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the victory.

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