Another weird postseason win for Tribe
Posted: Wednesday October 07, 1998 11:33 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Cue the "Twilight Zone" theme music. The Cleveland Indians are winning bizarre postseason games again.
For some strange reason, when one of the Indians squares around to bunt in the 12th inning, good things seem to happen to Cleveland.
Enrique Wilson's mad dash and comical dive across the plate in the 12th Wednesday allowed the Indians to even the American League championship series 1-1 with a 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees.
And for the first time since that fateful 11th inning of Game 7 in Florida last October, extra innings didn't bring extra heartache to Cleveland. And for the second straight year, there may be something magical about these Indians.
Magical or lucky.
"In a game like this, sometimes you need some luck," David Justice said.
In Game 3 of the ALCS last year, Cleveland beat Baltimore when Omar Vizquel missed a squeeze bunt and the ball got past Orioles catcher Lenny Webster, allowing Marquis Grissom to score the winning run.
Before they took on the Yankees juggernaut this week, the Indians knew that along with good pitching and hitting, they might need some breaks to make it back to the World Series.
And as the adage goes, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
"They won 114 games this season by finding a way to win," reliever Mike Jackson said of the Yankees. "And I think the tables turned tonight."
His arms flailing as he tried to stay upright, Wilson slid across the plate on his belly to give the Indians an improbable Game 2 victory that will surely go down with the some of October's most bizarre baserunning plays.
"That's why they have all those great video highlight tapes," said David Justice, whose fourth-inning homer had given the Indians a 1-0 lead. "Something that doesn't happen during the regular season seems to always happen in the postseason. This is one of those situations where we needed a break and we got one."
The Indians led a charmed existence last October, and now they're doing it again. They weren't supposed to beat the Yankees and did. They were underdogs against the Orioles and somehow ended their season early, too.
Cleveland opened this postseason by getting routed at home by Boston, but despite manager Mike Hargrove and starting pitcher Dwight Gooden being ejected in the first inning, they bounced back to win Game 2 at Jacobs Field.
Even after the home split, few gave them a chance of advancing when the team left for Boston. But Fenway Park didn't spook the Indians and they took care of the Red Sox last weekend.
After New York's 7-2 victory in Game 1, there was talk of a Yankees sweep. There's no such discussion any longer and now the Indians are going home where strange October events have happened before.
"In a bunt situation, these are the kind of things that happen," outfielder Kenny Lofton said. "I've seen plays like that before."
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