The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 20, 1998 · Page 24
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 24

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 20, 1998
Page 24
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D4 WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 1998 SPORTS THE SALINA JOURNAL T MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Tribe explodes past Royals Cleveland breaks open game in fifth inning with seven runs By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Manny Ramirez hit a three-run homer and Sandy Alomar singled twice in a seven-run fifth inning that powered the Cleveland Indians to a 16-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night. The seven-run outburst was the biggest inning of the season for the Indians made AL Indians 16 Royals and a winner of Chad Ogea (2-2), who allowed six hits and three runs in 6 1-3 innings. Jim Thome had four hits, including a two-run homer in the ninth, and Alomar, Omar Vizquel and Travis Fryman each had three of the Indians' season-high 20 hits. The loss was the fourth in a row for the Royals, who fell to 6-16 at home. Trailing 2-1, the Indians tied a season high with six hits in the fifth in knocking out Royals starter Pat Rapp (3-4). Alomar triggered the inning with a leadoff single. After a walk and a single by David Bell loaded the bases, Kenny Lofton tied the game with a sacrifice fly. Vizquel then put Cleveland ahead 4-2 with a two-run double down the right- field line. Rapp struck out David Justice, but after an intentional walk to Thome, Ramirez hit his seventh home run, a 409-foot drive into the left-field bleachers. The blast ended a string of 67 homerless at-bats for Ramirez dating back to April 22. The Indians added their seventh run off reliever Chris Haney on a walk to Brian Giles and singles by Alomar and Fryman. The win was the first since May 2 for Ogea, who struck out four and walked one before being lifted with a strained right pectoral muscle. Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the first on Thome's run-scoring single with one out. Kansas City tied the game in the third on a sacrifice fly by Shane Halter, and then went ahead 2-1 in the fourth on Dean Palmer's llth home run. It was the first since May 7 for Palmer, who was limited to one pinch-hitting appearance in three games at Boston over the weekend because of back spasms. The Royals added a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Sal Fasano. Fryman doubled in two runs in a five-run Cleveland eighth. McGwire hits 3 homers By The Associated Press PHILADELPHIA — Mark McG- wire's second three-homer game of the season powered the St. Louis Cardinals to 10-8 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night. McGwire, who leads the majors with 20 homers, hit three two-run shots, the last one a 451-footer into the upper deck at Veterans Stadium that snapped an 8-8 tie in the eighth. The six RBIs tied a career high for McGwire, who leads the NL with 52. He has hit five homers in his last four games. McGwire, who had three homers April 14 against Arizona, became the 12th player to have two three-homer games in a season. It was the fourth time in McG- wire's career he's hit three homers in a game and the 45th time he's had more than one homer in a game. John Frascatore (1-2) got the win after allowing no hits in 1% innings. Juan Acevedo pitched the ninth for his second save. Wayne Gomes (1-1) gave up three runs, including McGwire's last homer and Ron Gant's game- tying homer earlier in the eighth. McGwire helped the Cardinals build a 3-0 lead with his first homer of the night in the third. After the Phillies cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth, McGwire's second homer started a four-run fifth that put St. Louis up 7-2. But the Phillies scored four in their half of the fifth and two in the sixth to take an 8-7 lead before Gant's solo homer led off the eighth. Two-run homers by Scott Rolen and Mike Lieberthal cut the Cardinals' lead to 7-6 in the fifth. In the sixth, Gregg Jefferies' sacrifice fly scored pinch-hitter Kevin Sefcik, and the Phillies had the bases loaded when Mike Lieberthal hit into what looked like an inning-ending double play to Frascatore. Frascatore got the second out at home, but catcher Tom Pagnozzi's throw to first bounced off Lieberthal, scoring Rolen. Pagnozzi's error was the fourth of the game for St. Louis. Ostertag / Big guy has struggled in NBA FROM PAGE D1 four hours south of his family's home with his grandfather and shoot dove, deer, duck, quail, rabbit, whatever was in season. "I loved it," Ostertag says. "I learned to fish when I was 6, learned to hunt when I was 10. There was nothing better. I loved getting away from everything, clearing my mind off everything. I would watch the leaves fall off the trees, watch them fall to the ground. I sat and watched the squirrels run by, loved to watch the deer, and just OSTERTAG sit and relax." The big man still feels that way. He would rather shoot an arrow through the heart of an elk or hook a big ol' rainbow or while away an afternoon in the mountains watching the clouds blow through a deep-blue sky than just about anything else he can think of doing. How many centers in the modern NBA, do you suppose, fit that description? Ostertag wasn't interested in academics, although his mother pushed him to work in school. "I was a terrible student," he says. "I hated it. I was never the school type." He did love baseball, pitching and playing first base in particular, but when he broke the 6-foot- 10 mark in the eighth grade, he gave up that passion, succumbing to the Fates, who seemed intent on twisting his path by growing him tall. Basketball was easy, at first. "In high school, I didn't even have to jump," he says. "I just shot and, if I missed, I would rebound and shoot again." He won a Texas state title as a senior at Duncanville High School. When he arrived at the University of Kansas, though, basketball became a challenge. But, there he was, already in the big time. Too late to remove himself. At Lawrence, he never got his degree. But he did meet and marry his wife, Heidi, who, upon meeting Ostertag for the first time, had the same impression that many have. "I thought he was a dork," she says. Nonetheless, she fell for his easy-going, comedic qualities. "He was real funny," she says. "And that's what attracted me to him." Ostertag is funny. He enjoys watching cartoons and, in fact, kind of looks like one. Baby Huey, perhaps. He wears his Fred Flintstone tattoo on his leg with pride. And would like to get a matching one of Barney Rubble. "I'm a big kid at heart," says Ostertag. "I've always been a free- spirited, open-minded, happy-go- lucky guy, and I'm not changing. I'll always be a kid. The day I stop being a kid, I'll probably be dead." The Jazz drafted the big kid in 1995. And, well, you know the nadirs and pinnacles of the rest of the story. We'll see, ultimately, what effect the pressures of the NBA will have. Either way, in the short term, Ostertag remains a key, if the Jazz are to advance to the NBA Finals. He'll have to play big against Shaq when the series resumes Friday night in Los Angeles. Find a measure of consistency and tenacity to pull it off. Replace the inner kid with a grown man. "I'm optimistic," says the hoop adolescent, who refrains from cursing the Fates, in their cruelty, for growing him tall, without giving him also the mental toughness to make it work. With any luck, he'll discover it, somewhere, somehow, sometime, within himself. Buyer beware: Piazza will cost you Rockies quick to let Marlins know they're interested in making deal for star catcher By TRACY RINGOLSBY Scripps Howard News Service Mike Piazza is on the auction block. Buyer beware. Piazza's not going to come cheap. The Florida Marlins are going to want plenty. So is Piazza. The Colorado Rockies didn't hesitate to let the Marlins know they have in terest in Piazza. Owner Jerry McMorris knows the Rockies have fallen far short of expectations this season and that the Coors pi A7ZA Field natives are restless. The Rockies would like to add an instant impact. Besides, it never hurts to kick the tires. It does, however, hurt to have a knee-jerk reaction. Two words: Greg Harris. In their inaugural season, the Rockies broke every baseball attendance record, so McMorris told general manager Bob Gebhard to make a move that would show the fans the team would reinvest its profits. The Rockies needed pitching. So at a time when their most realistic goal was avoiding 100 losses, they traded catcher Brad Ausmus and right-handed pitchers Andy Ashby and Doug Bochtler to San Diego for Harris and Bruce Hurst, whdse career was over but whose contract wasn't. The Rockies still are paying for that goodwill gesture. And remember, Harris and Hurst came cheaply compared to what Piazza will cost. There is no sense of urgency for the Marlins to make a deal. They will save more than $10 million in salaries even if they don't trade Piazza. Their deal with the Dodgers rids them of Gary Sheffield's six- year, $61 million contract and the remaining $18 million due Bobby Bonilla over three years. So if the Marlins can't get what they want today, they figure some team eventually will be desperate and, by the time the so- called July 31 trading deadline rolls around, panic will hit. The Marlins are getting out word that they want a young catching prospect — one ready to play in the big leagues right now — and several more legitimate prospects. That's why the Chicago Cubs, with Pat Cline at Class AAA Iowa, and New York Yankees, with Jorge Posada already in the big leagues, are of such interest to the Marlins. For the Rockies to be a serious contender for Piazza, the talks will have to start with Ben Petrick, the only legitimate catching prospect in their system. But he's at least two years from being a regular in the big leagues. That means the Rockies would have to address Florida's other immediate needs. It would mean that, in addition to Petrick, the Rockies would have to give up Jamey Wright or John Thomson, Todd Helton or Neifi Perez and Edgard Clemente or Derrick Gibson. And that doesn't even address what it would cost the Rockies to keep Piazza. Agent Dan Lozano convinced Piazza he's going to be baseball's first $100 million player. When the Dodgers informed Piazza on Thursday they were close to making the deal with. Florida, Lozano told him to be calm. Lozano said it was a strong-arm tactic of negotiations, that the Dodgers were trying to pressure Piazza into taking what he considered an insulting offer, $84 million over six years. Lozano was wrong. Now he has to scramble to save face. So any team hoping to keep Piazza from free agency next fall will have to agree to the seven-year, $105 million deal the Dodgers refused. But that would be long-range suicide for a team. Sure, Piazza is one of the more dominating offensive forces in the game. But he is an average catcher at best, and his physical condition provides little, if any, reason to believe he can catch into the next century. His future is at designated hitter, not first base, a position he abandoned after struggling at it in the minor leagues. The instant impact Piazza provides comes at a high price in terms of the young players and future finances that acquiring — and keeping — him will demand. MONDAY, MAY 25 J 1:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. 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