The 86-75 Cleveland Indians punch their ticket to the World Series for the second straight season as they knock off the American League Wild Card 98-64 Baltimore Orioles, 1-0, in eleven innings at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The game was a tale of two uniquely different pitching performances from the starting pitchers on each side. Cleveland’s Charles Nagy threw seven and one-third scoreless innings, striking out four but giving up three walks and nine base hits. A pair of double play balls helped him escape damage. Baltimore’s Mike Mussina was brilliant over eight innings, striking out ten Tribesmen while walking a pair and giving up just one hit – a double to David Justice to lead off the fifth inning after retiring the first 12 hitters in order.
In the eleventh, Baltimore brought in their third pitcher of the day, Armando Benitez. After retiring ALCS MVP Marquis Grissom swinging and Omar Vizquel on a bunt attempt, Tony Fernandez swung at the first pitch of his at bat and sent a long drive over the high wall in right field for the game’s first and only run. Jose Mesa, the former Baltimore starter, worked a scoreless bottom half, giving up a two-out single to Brady Anderson before striking out Roberto Alomar looking to clinch the trip to the final stage of postseason play.
Five Indians pitchers combine on the eleven inning, ten-hit shutout.