Brown can't save Padres this time
Posted: Tuesday October 13, 1998 02:05 AM
Qualcomm Stadium, however, isn't a John Wayne movie set.
This time, the Atlanta Braves rallied against Brown for 7-6 victory in Game 5 of the National League championship series.
Brown, who had dominated Atlanta in the Padres' 3-0 victory in Game 2, was called on to put them away again.
Coming out of the bullpen for just the third time in his career, Brown took over for starter Andy Ashby with the Padres leading 4-2 in the seventh, no outs and a runner on first.
"The feeling in the dugout was that we were going to get him," the Braves' Michael Tucker said.
Tucker was not only right, he did most of the "getting."
Most of the crowd of 58,988, who rose and cheered wildly when they spotted Brown coming into the game, kept up the deafening din during that inning.
Then in eighth, as the roar gradually quieted and the fans eventually grew almost silent in disbelief, the Braves took out their frustration on the pitcher responsible for sending them home early last year and beating them earlier in this NL championship series.
Tucker played the hero this time with two on and two out and the Padres up 4-2, when he hit his three-run homer over the fence in right field to begin a five-run eighth inning.
Brown, seeming stoic in the club house afterward, said, "We were winning the game and we wound up losing it. I feel bad from the standpoint that we came back only to give it away like that."
Although the relief appearance was rare for Brown, he said that didn't make any difference in his pitching.
"I got through the first inning fine, but I made some mistakes in the second," he said.
Tucker thought Brown looked flat.
"He didn't have that extra giddy-up you really want to have," said Tucker, who hit a forkball for the go-ahead homer.
When the ball cleared the fence, Atlanta players spilled out of their dugout, as wildly happy as the Padres fans had been only moments earlier, while Brown walked slowly off the mound and out of the game, the loser.
He gave up three runs and two hits in 1 1-3 innings.
Not only was his relief appearance costly in the game, but also would appear to open the door further for the Braves the rest of the series, since Brown was scheduled to be the Game 6 starter Wednesday in Atlanta.
Manager Bruce Bochy didn't rule out the possibility that Brown would come back to start that game.
Bochy said his first thought was to use Sterling Hitchcock, the Game 3 winner, on Wednesday, saving Brown if there's a seventh game.
But Bochy, who started Brown on three days' rest in the divisional series against Houston, both Brown victories, may still have to convince Brown to take Wednesday off.
"We'll sit down on the flight tomorrow and discuss it, [pitching coach] among [pitching coach] Dave Stewart, Brownie and myself."
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