Bo Steals Show, Not the Game : Baseball: Jackson's three-run homer in the ninth gives Angels a tie, but Indians win, 6-5, in 10th.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cleveland right fielder Wayne Kirby had three hits and drove in two runs. First baseman Paul Sorrento had two towering home runs. Starter Charles Nagy retired 13 in a row at one point and yielded only four hits in eight innings. And Kenny Lofton hit a 10th-inning home run that gave the Indians a 6-5 victory and their first sweep at Anaheim Stadium in almost two decades.

But Bo stole the show.

Forget the fact Cleveland won. What the crowd of 16,682--and undoubtedly including many who were listening in their cars on the way home--will be talking about this morning is their version of Bo's blow, a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth that sent the game into extra innings.

Surely, it will be described as a "rocket" and a "blast," but in reality it was a slicing fly ball to right field that barely cleared the 362 sign.

The Indians, who last swept a series here in July, 1975, appeared headed for their sixth victory in seven games this season in the ninth when Tim Salmon looped a one-out single to right. Chili Davis followed with a walk and that brought on Jackson for that one not-so-mighty swing.

The fans may have been dancing in the aisles, but Jackson was less than impressed.

"Fighting back doesn't get the job done," he said. "You can have six of seven numbers in the lotto, but if you don't have that seventh number, you don't get jack. And we got swept.

"If I sound crabby, bear with me. I hate to lose."

It was the third consecutive game in which Jackson came to the plate representing the tying run in the ninth inning, and this time he charmed. Jackson had been hitless in 11 at-bats before slapping a single to right in the seventh inning, including three strikeouts.

"You get the bitter with the sweet when you play Bo Jackson," Angel Manager Buck Rodgers said. "We've just been pulling up short. Dramatics are great when you win, but not when you lose."

Indeed, the Angels' moment of glory was extremely short lived. Lofton opened the 10th inning with a home run to right off Scott Lewis, who got the loss.

Despite the sweep, the Angels feel as if they showed they can compete with a team such as Cleveland, if they could just figure out a way to handle whoever the Indians decide to drop into right field and the No. 9 spot in the batting order.

During Monday's home opener, it was Manny Ramirez. Rodgers said he didn't know who "the masked man in right field" was, but would be sure to remember his name after Ramirez had two home runs and five runs batted in. Tuesday night, Ramirez failed to get a hit, but he walked with the bases loaded and the Indians won by one run, 5-4.

Wednesday night it was the feared Kirby batting last and playing right field. Predictably, Kirby had a big night.

The Angels grabbed an early lead when Davis bumped his average up to .500 with a second-inning single that caromed off diving shortstop Omar Vizquel. One out later, Eduardo Perez gave the Angels a 2-0 lead with a home run well beyond the 386 sign in left-center.

Cleveland responded with a run in the third inning when Kirby lined a single to right and then scored on a hit-and-run double down the left-field line by Lofton. Angel starter Phil Leftwich averted further trouble, however, when he caught Lofton straying too far off second, and the Indian center fielder was tagged out by third baseman Damion Easley after a rundown.

The Angels maintained their one-run margin until the fifth when the Indians again ran themselves out of what might have been a big inning. Sandy Alomar Jr. opened the inning with a single to right and then stole second base. Leftwich caught Jim Thome looking at a third strike, but Kirby ripped his second line-drive single to right to drive in Alomar and tie the game, 2-2.

Nagy, a 1992 all-star who spent most of the 1993 season on the disabled list after undergoing shoulder surgery, cruised after Perez's homer. He retired 13 in a row, and only two Angel hitters managed to get the ball out of the infield.

The Indians took the lead in the seventh. Leftwich, who had recorded a number of warning-track outs, yielded a bases-empty blast to Sorrento. When Thome doubled to right one out later, Rodgers had seen enough and went to Craig Lefferts.

Lefferts was no match for Kirby, who slapped his third consecutive single to right and Cleveland led, 4-2. Sorrento made it 5-2 with another homer in the ninth.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
58°