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MUSSINA'S 15-STRIKEOUT PERFORMANCE GOES TO WASTE

Fifteen strikeouts and a no-decision. There was no justice Saturday for Baltimore starter Mike Mussina at Jacobs Field.

The right-hander continued his tour de force in the postseason but it wasn't enough to get a win as Cleveland pulled out a 2-1, 12-inning victory.

Mussina broke the League Championship Series record of 14 strikeouts recorded four previous times, the last by Houston's Mike Scott in 1986 against the Mets.

Mussina, who struck out the side three times, has fanned 31 batters in 21 postseason innings. His ERA is 1.71.

"He was awesome," said Baltimore's Brady Anderson. "It was a tough day to hit (due to the late-afternoon shadows) but he would have been tough to hit on any day."

"Mike was outstanding," said Baltimore manager Davey Johnson. "He threw a lot of pitchers (120) but still struck out a lot of guys."

Mussina didn't have anything to say about his performance. He waved away reporters both before he went to the shower and after he returned.

Mussina has given up just 13 hits in 23 innings against Cleveland this year -- and struck out 34. He fell two outs shy of a perfect game against the Tribe May 30 in Baltimore.

Mussina's downfall came in the seventh, oddly enough when he struck out Manny Ramirez to set the LCS record with 15. Ramirez fouled off five 3-2 pitches and the at-bat took 12 pitches in total. Mussina then walked Jim Thome and gave up back-to-back singles to David Justice and Matt Williams that produced Cleveland's first run.
Cleveland starter Orel Hershiser had another strong outing, pitching seven shutout innings and throwing 65 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

Hershiser has three no-decisions this October, but has a 2.45 ERA in them. He's 8-1 for his postseason career with a 1.93 ERA.
The tainted run Jose Mesa gave up in the ninth snapped a 19 1/3 -inning scoreless streak by the Cleveland bullpen, which finished eighth in the American League in earned run average in the regular season at 4.38 after leading the league in both 1995 and 1996.

The Cleveland pen is 2-0, 0.87 in this series. Eric Plunk earned the win by getting the final two outs in the 12th. He had not pitched in 11 days after being torched for back-to-back home runs by the Yankees in Game One of the Division Series.
In addition to being the longest LCS contest ever (at 4:51, the game eclipsed by nine minutes the Mets' 16-inning clincher in 1986 at Houston), the teams combined to set marks for pitchers used (13) and strikeouts (33). . . . Johnson said the Orioles don't expect to use starter Jimmy Key for the rest of the series. Key lasted just four innings in Game Two and the Orioles fear the strain of throwing nearly 230 innings two years after shoulder surgery has him worn out. . . . Cleveland's team batting average in the series is just .160; the Orioles are hitting at a .210 clip. . . . The Indians tied an LCS record with four double plays.

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