Two quick homers send Rogers reeling again
Posted: Wednesday October 13, 1999 07:43 PM
After his Game 2 loss, Rogers fell to 0-2 with a 10.26 ERA in five postseason starts. AP
ATLANTA (AP) -- Everything was going so well for Kenny Rogers.
The man who supposedly couldn't pitch in the big games did just
that for five innings against the Atlanta Braves.
Then it all fell apart in the sixth for Rogers and the New York
Mets, who lost 4-3 Wednesday and trail the NL championship series
2-0 heading back to New York.
Rogers had allowed six singles and two walks through five
innings, using a tricky pickoff and an effective sinker that led to
two double plays to help New York hold a 2-0 lead.
Rogers, not known for an intimidating presence on the mound,
even got in the Braves' heads after picking off Gerald Williams in
the first inning and Andruw Jones in the second.
When Jones was on first base in the fourth, he didn't even take
a lead. Instead, he lined up like a sprinter in the blocks, which
was only appropriate in the stadium that held the track and field
events during the 1996 Olympics.
But you can't pick off a player who homers. And it was the long
ball that got to Rogers in the sixth.
After Chipper Jones worked a nine-pitch walk with one out, Brian
Jordan hit an opposite-field drive that bounced off the screen on
the right-field foul poll, tying the game at 2.
Before manager Bobby Valentine could get reliever Turk Wendell
warmed up, Andruw Jones lined a single to left.
With the smoke from the firecrackers after Jordan's homer still
lingering in the stadium, Eddie Perez hit the first pitch he saw
into the left-field seats to give the Braves a lead they wouldn't
Valentine threw down his hat in the dugout and kicked it away in
disgust. Rogers, who was forced out of New York two years ago
because of his big-game failings, dejectedly walked off the mound.
Rogers fell to 0-2 with a 10.26 ERA in five postseason starts.
Unlike in 1996 with the Yankees, when Rogers was unable to go
longer than three innings in any of his three starts - games the
Yankees eventually came back to win -- the Mets weren't able to take
him off the hook with runs of their own.
They came close in the eighth when Edgardo Alfonzo's RBI double
brought New York within 4-3. John Rocker struck out John Olerud and
Robin Ventura with the tying run on second base to end the inning.
Olerud, Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura - the middle of the Mets'
lineup -- went 0-for-10 and are 1-for-21 in the series.
The Mets started the game undaunted by their Game 1 loss to Greg
Maddux, their 10th defeat in 13 games this year to Atlanta. Most of
the players and coaches stood on the top step early in the game
shouting encouragement to their teammates.
New York even had a lead to celebrate after Roger Cedeno's RBI
single in the second. When backup Melvin Mora homered three innings
after replacing the ailing Rickey Henderson in left field, it
looked like it might finally be the Mets' day in Atlanta.
Instead, it was just like most of New York's other trips here,
as the Mets lost for the 15th time in 16 games here.
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