Hernandez's approach is bend, but don't break He keeps things interesting in his 4th postseason win


CLEVELAND -- With one swing last night, Moises Alou gave the Florida Marlins new life. Livan Hernandez had kept them propped up.

Looking lost in the early going, Hernandez found a way to win for the second time in this World Series, throwing 142 pitches, lasting into the ninth inning and again getting the best of veteran Orel Hershiser in the Marlins' 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 5 at Jacobs Field.

He snapped off curveballs that made knees bend and bats stay still. He brought heat that couldn't be touched. He also issued eight walks and had his manager forming a posse in the dugout, but still left with his fourth postseason victory this year, the legend growing along with the Marlins' prospects of winning it all.

Already the youngest pitcher to win a World Series opener, Hernandez became the sixth to record four wins in a single postseason and the sixth rookie starter to win at least two games in a single World Series, the first since the New York Yankees' Spec Shea in 1947.

The Cuban native was charged with five earned runs (six total). Two runs scored in the ninth after he had been removed for closer Robb Nen. He retired 10 of 11 batters until one out in the seventh, when Manny Ramirez reached on a bad-hop single, then fielded a bouncer from David Justice to begin a double play.

At that point, he was in command, not long after being in jeopardy.

The Indians bullied him in the second inning, a triple by Jim Thome and single by Sandy Alomar producing a run. And they nearly chased him in the third, when walks to Matt Williams and Thome set up a three-run homer by Alomar on a fastball down and in that gave the Indians a 4-2 lead.

Hernandez grew angry with himself. "That helps me concentrate better because I know I did something wrong," he said through an interpreter.

Two more Indians climbed aboard in the third before Hernandez, 22, got Bip Roberts to line to shortstop Edgar Renteria. Little did they know the right-hander would allow only two more hits over the next five innings. Little could they imagine a runner wouldn't reach second again until the eighth.

"The adjustment he made was more of a mental adjustment," said manager Jim Leyland. "I had every Spanish-speaking guy on the team talking to him when he came into the dugout, telling him not to lose his cool and to settle down. I don't know which one it was, but one of them hit home."

Hernandez faced two batters in the ninth, being charged with an error when first-base umpire Ken Kaiser ruled that he missed the bag after taking a throw from Jeff Conine, and allowing a single to Omar Vizquel.

Nen let the runs score on a single by Justice, then nearly coughed up Hernandez's victory by permitting Thome's RBI single. But Alomar flied to right to end the game, and Leyland embraced Hernandez as they walked toward the infield.

Alou's three-run homer in the sixth had wiped out a 4-2 deficit, passing the game back to Hernandez, who held it tight.

Posting wins

The Marlins' Livan Hernandez became the sixth pitcher to record four wins in a single postseason. A look at the group, with number of wins in Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series:

Yr, Pitcher, team, DS, CS, WS

'81, Burt Hooton, LA, 1, 2, 1

'89, Dave Stewart, Oak,--, 2, 2

'91, Jack Morris, Min, --, 2, 2

'95, Orel Hershiser, Cle, 1, 2, 1

'96, John Smoltz, Atl, 1, 2, 1

'97, L. Hernandez, Fla, 1, 2, 1

Pub Date: 10/24/97

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