The Cleveland Indians clinch the American League pennant for the first time since 1954 by winning their third consecutive game over the Seattle Mariners. Dennis Martinez and two relievers combine on a four-hit shutout in a 4-0 win in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
The Indians and Mariners were scoreless until the fifth inning, when Kenny Lofton delivered a run-scoring single to left off of Seattle ace Randy Johnson. His hit scored Alvaro Espinoza, who had reached on a throwing error from second baseman Joey Cora.
The score remained 1-0 heading into the eighth when the Indians added some insurance in the most unpredictable of ways. Facing Seattle’s “Big Unit”, Tony Pena doubled to right-center field and was lifted for pinch-runner Ruben Amaro. Lofton dropped down a bunt to move Amaro to third and reached safely himself. With Omar Vizquel at the plate, Lofton moved up to second on a stolen base, which would loom large just moments later. Johnson’s 2-0 pitch to Vizquel was missed by catcher Dan Wilson, allowing Amaro to score easily from third. Lofton, moving to third on the passed ball, continued running and beat Wilson’s throw to Johnson at the plate. Carlos Baerga would homer after Vizquel’s line out to end Johnson’s night and give the Indians a four-run edge.
Julian Tavarez and Jose Mesa worked easy innings in relief to punch the Indians’ ticket to their first World Series in 41 years. Mesa wrapped it with a grounder to Espinoza at third, who threw to Herbert Perry at first to retire Jay Buhner for the final out of the Mariners season at the Kingdome.