Keys to the game
1. Still Mr. October: Indians starter Orel Hershiser came out strong, retiring the Orioles in order in the first two innings and striking out four straight batters at one stretch. He went on to give up just four hits over seven scoreless innings in another clutch postseason performance. The Orioles did not get a single runner to second base against him.
2. Double trouble: The Indians kept Hershiser out of serious trouble in the middle innings by turning double plays in four consecutive innings. The first came on a strikeout/caught stealing, but Hershiser got double-play grounders in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings -- each immediately after allowing a single to the leadoff batter. The four double plays equaled a league championship series record.
3. Mussina picks up where he left off and then some: Right-hander Mike Mussina, who pitched two monster games against the Seattle Mariners in the Division Series, outdid himself. He set a major league record with 15 strikeouts in a playoff game and tied an LCS record with five consecutive strikeouts during the middle innings. He struck out the side in the first, third and sixth innings and gave up just three hits through seven innings, but finally surrendered a run in the seventh.
Indians right fielder Manny Ramirez will go into the books as Mussina's 15th strikeout victim, but he may have taken Mussina with him. Ramirez fought back from a 1-2 count to foul off seven full-count pitches in a 13-pitch at-bat. The next three batters reached base and the Indians got the only run of the game.
Mussina and Hershiser needed just six innings to break the ALCS record for total strikeouts in a game. Mussina struck out 14 through six and Hershiser added six to break the record of 19 set previously by the Orioles and and Minnesota Twins on Oct. 5, 1970 and by the Orioles and Athletics on Oct. 6, 1973. They
combined to break the major league LCS record in the seventh inning, when Mussina struck out Manny Ramirez to give them 22. The previous record was set by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds on Oct. 4, 1990 and equaled by the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves on Oct. 10, 1993.
Another Mussina record
When Mussina struck out Jim Thome for his ninth strikeout of the game, he set an Orioles postseason record with 25 in this postseason. The previous record was held by Dave McNally, who struck out 24 in the LCS and World Series in 1969.
* A failed squeeze attempt turned into the winning run in the bottom of the 12th when Lenny Webster couldn't handle a Randy Myers pitch to Omar Vizquel and Marquis Grissom scored from third. The Orioles complained to plate umpire John Hirschbeck that Vizquel's bat touched the ball but replays appeared to show the ball did not touch the bat but hit Webster's glove then caromed to foul territory on the third base side of the plate.
* Grissom and Tony Fernandez went from potential goats to heroes in the 12th inning. Grissom drew a one-out walk on a full count and Fernandez's single to right moved Grissom from first to third. In the bottom of the ninth Fernandez made a costly mistake when he failed to tag out Jeff Reboulet who was caught between first and second after Fernandez picked up a grounder by Jeffrey Hammonds. With Reboulet retreating back to first Fernandez instead threw to first to get Hammonds. Reboulet was safe at second after Jim Thome's throw hit Reboulet in the back. Reboulet scored the tying run on Brady Anderson's double that Grissom lost in the sky.
* Hershiser and catcher Sandy Alomar teamed on a big double play in the third inning. Hershiser struck out Mike Bordick looking on a full-count pitch and Alomar gunned down Harold Baines easily going to second.
* Anderson came up short on a soft fly ball by David Justice in the seventh inning, putting runners at first and second with one out. Matt Williams followed with ground ball single up the middle that broke the scoreless tie.
Quote of the day
Orioles second baseman Roberto Alomar when asked to comment on the final call by Hirschbeck: "Don't ask me. Don't ask me."
Pub Date: 10/12/97