THE SALINA JOURNAL BASEBALL FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27. 1996 C3 T AMERICAN LEAGUE Mariners stumble late The Associated Press Members of the San Diego Padres sit dejectedly following Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Colorado Rock- ies. The Padres are two games behind the Dodgers in the National League West. Padres' predicament San Diego needs sweep of Dodgers to win division By The Associated Press S AN DIEGO — Reliever Doug Bochtler carefully packed his lucky green Padres cap Thursday for the trip to Los Angeles. "Gotta do it," said Bochtler, who's brought out the St. Patrick's Day spring training special a few other times this year, including the last time the Padres went to Dodger Stadium. This time is quite a bit different, and the Padres need more than lucky icons in a three-game series starting today that will decide the NL West. . "It's something you wait your whole life for, to be in a pennant race," said right-hander Andy Ashby, who will start Saturday night's game. "It's just weird how it comes down the last three games." Three games the Padres must win to clinch the NL West title, which is the way they'd prefer to T AL MVP CANDIDATE enter the playoffs. The Dodgers and Padres split a four-game series in San Diego last weekend. While the Dodgers beat San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Padres fell two games back by losing two to the Colorado Rockies, who are 28-53 on the road and came up with three big home runs. "We have no excuses," Tony Gwynn said Thursday after a voluntary workout under gloomy skies. "They beat us. Now we face the worst-case scenario to win the division. It's not going to be easy, but it's the ultimate challenge." Regardless of the outcome of Thursday night's Giants-Dodgers game, the Padres need a sweep to win the division. In the wild-card race, San Diego needed a combination of three wins or Montreal losses to clinch. If the Padres and Expos finished tied, San Diego would be host for a playoff game Monday. Of course, the Padres could end up being eliminated altogether. "After 159 games, you'd think you'd feel pretty good about your chance to be in the postseason," said Gwynn, who's closing in on his seventh NL batting title. "I haven't been able to sleep well, I've been paranoid and I've been watching the CNN sports ticker. "If we can get in, everybody will be happy," he said. "If not, it will be the longest whiter in the history of the Padres' organization. To grind it out and not go to the postseason would be awful." Gwynn, Steve Finley, Ken Caminiti and few other Padres came out to hit Thursday at soggy Jack Murphy Stadium. The Padres have lost five of their last six games following days off, and want to be ready for the Dodgers. The Padres also lost their comeback touch both Tuesday and Wednesday, failing to drive in runners in crucial late-inning situations. Seattle's playoff hopes dim after A's get four runs in 8th for 7-5 win By The Associated Press Norm Charlton sat sullenly in a comer of the clubhouse, nursing a beer and staring into space. He spoke softly as somber Seattle teammates whispered a few feet away. The Mariners' playoff hopes dimmed Thursday as the Oakland Athletics scored four runs in the eighth inning, three off Charlton, to win 7-5 and deepen Seattle's late-season stumble at Oakland, Calif. "We had the game won right there. I came in and screwed it up," Charlton said. "I didn't do my job and we lost the game." The Mariners, who have lost four of five after going on a 10- game winning streak to pull back into playoff contention, are 3'/2 games behind Texas in the AL West and 2 '/a behind Baltimore in the race for the AL wild card. After scoring three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 5-3 lead, the Mariners gave the lead right back. Mike Jackson opened the inning by walking Mark McGwire and striking out Terry Steinbach. Charlton (4-7) walked left-handed pinch-hitter Matt Stairs and Scott Spiezio loaded the bases with an infield single off the glove of third baseman Dave Hollins. Charlton then struck out Ernie Young, but forced in a run by walking Mike Bordick. Tony Batista followed with a two-run single to right on an O-an-2 count to knock out Charlton and give Oakland the lead. T NATIONAL LEAGUE Belle puts up MVP numbers Indians' controversial slugger closes in on 50 HR, 150 RBI season By The Associated Press CLEVELAND — Albert Belle could join Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx in the record book and probably still get snubbed in the AL MVP voting — again. With three games left, the Cleveland Indians slugger needs three home runs and four RBIs to become the first player to hit 50 homers and drive in 150 runs since Jimmie Foxx in 1938. Foxx had 50 homers and 175 RBIs. , Belle could also join Ruth as the only players in major league history with back-to-back 50 homer seasons. BELLE Don't even bother to count the votes. Just mail the MVP trophy to Belle now, right? Not quite. First, in this Year of the Homer, Belle's numbers don't stand out as much as they did last year, when he became the first major leaguer with 50 homers and 50 doubles in a season. Then there's this little matter of "general character and disposition." "Let's face it," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "Albert rubs a lot of people the wrong way." Last year Belle hit .317 with 50 homers, 52 doubles and 126 RBIs, but finished second in the AL MVP balloting to Boston's Mo Vaughn, who is making a case for the award again this season. Lots of people say that Seattle's Alex Rodriguez is having the best year. There's also Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez and others. Frank Thomas, the MVP in 1993 and '94, has said Belle would get his vote. Paul Molitor, who knows Wild-card race National Leagtrt W L Pot. QB Baltimore 87 72 .547 — Seattle 84 74 .532 414 Chicago 64 75 .528 3 American League W L Pet. QB San Diego 88 71 .653 — Montreal 87 72 .547 1 Only 10 of the 22 pitches Charlton threw were for strikes. "I walk a lefty and I walk a guy like Bordick, that's absolutely ridiculous. And when I go O-and-2 on somebody, they should be a strikeout, not just an out," Charlton said. "It wasn't the hit that killed me, it was the walks before." Bill Taylor (6-3) got the final six outs for the A's. • Rangers 6, Angels 5 — At Arlington, Texas, the Texas Rangers took advantage of shoddy California fielding to clinch at least a tie for a playoff spot by beating the Angels. Texas can win its first division title by winning any of its final three games or if second-place Seattle loses any of its four remaining games. The Rangers have a 3V2-game lead in the AL West over the Mariners. John Burkett (5-2) allowed seven hits and five runs in 1% innings. Mike Stan ton got two outs in the ninth and Mike Henneman finished for his 31st save, getting Gary DiSarcina on a liner to left with runners at first and second. Jim Abbott (2-18) scattered eight hits in eight innings, but was hurt by three Angels errors. • Orioles 4, Blue Jays 1 — At Toronto, Brady Anderson hit his 48th homer and Cal Ripken added a three-run shot as Baltimore moved closer to a wild-card berth by beating Toronto 4-1 Thursday night. The victory, combined with Seattle's 7-5 loss to Oakland, increased the Orioles' wild-card lead to 2'/2 games over the Mariners and three games over the Chicago White Sox. Baltimore and Chicago each have three games left, while Seattle has four. Rookie Rocky Coppinger (10-6) took a three-hit shutout into the ninth before giving up a run with one out. He allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked none in improving to 4-0 against the Blue Jays this season. Jesse Orosco and Armando Benitez finished up, with Benitez getting his fourth save. • Red Sox 5, Yankees 3 — At Boston, Boston rocked Jimmy Key for four runs in the first inning and defeated New York, but was still eliminated from playoff contention when Baltimore beat Toronto. The Yankees clinched the AL East title Wednesday night, so they rested many of their regulars. Key (12-11) gave up five hits in the first inning. The Red Sox scored on on RBI singles by Jose Canseco and Bill Haselman, 'and a two-run single by rookie Rudy Pemberton. Mo Vaughn drove in his 143rd run, tying Jimmie Foxx for second most ir one season in Red Sox history. Rodriguez powers Expos Royals / Brett says hell wait for chance a little about baseball history, agreed. "Albert's season has just been phenomenal in terms of production and consistency," said Moli-. tor. "If I had to choose, I'd probably say Albert. His time has maybe come." Belle is obsessive in his pursuit of baseball's historic numbers. He knows who holds all the records. He also ignores the media (which does the MVP voting), slam dunks his helmet when he makes an out and shows up his teammates when he thinks they should have scored to give him another RBI. There have been signs lately that Belle's pursuit of history has started to get to him. In one game, the Indians came back to beat the California Angels 4-3 when two runs scored on Belle's sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. But an error was charged on the play, so Belle only got one RBI. The next day, Belle called official scorer Rick Rembielak at home to plead for another RBI. T NOTES Grand slam enables Montreal to close in on Padres in wild-card race By The Associated Press Henry Rodriguez' sixth-inning grand slam powered the visiting Montreal Expos to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night, boosting Montreal's wild-card hopes. Rodriguez, who had been stuck on 99 RBIs since Sept. 17, homered off Curt Schilling (9-10) to reach the 100-RBI mark for the first time in his career. The Expos, who had lost five of their previous six, moved within one game of the idle San Diego Padres in the race for the NL wild card. The Expos close out the season with three home games against Atlanta. The Padres play three games in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, who enter the series with a two-game lead over the Padres in the NL West. Omar Daal (3-5) went five innings for the win, giving up two runs on five hits. Mel Rojas pitched the ninth for his 35th save. Schilling, who struck out 11 in seven innings, had only given up one hit when the Expos rallied from a two-run deficit to take a 5-2 lead in the sixth. Rodriguez' homer was the Expos' ninth grand slam of the season. That tied a league record for most slams in a season, shared by the 1929 Cubs and the 1995 Padres. • Giants 6, Dodgers 1 — At Los Angeles, the Dodgers missed their first chance to clinch their The Associated Press Chicago Cubs catcher Tyler Houston blocks home plate as Cincinnati Red Bret Boone is out trying to score during the second inning Thursday. second straight NL playoff berth. Mark Gardner pitched a seven- hitter and rookies Bill Mueller and Wilson Delgado each had two hits and an RBI as San Francisco avoided a three-game sweep by beating Los Angeles. The loss cut the Dodgers' lead to two games over second-place San Diego in the NL West race. The Padres were idle Thursday. Los Angeles needs just one win over the Padres in their season- ending, three-game series at Dodger Stadium to clinch their second consecutive NL West title. The Dodgers could have sewn up at least a wild-card berth with a win over San Francisco or a loss by Montreal on Thursday night, but the Giants didn't cooperate and the Expos beat Philadelphia. The Padres enter the weekend series with a one-game lead over Montreal in the NL wild-card race. The Expos finish the season with three home games against Atlanta, which has already clinched the NL East crown. • Reds 12, Cubs 4 — At Cincinnati, Hal Morris pushed his hitting streak to 26 games and Willie Greene hit his fifth homer in three days to lead Cincinnati. Eric Davis and Jeff Branson also homered for the Reds, who completed a three-game sweep. The Cubs have assured themselves of a losing record by losing 11 of 12. Morris singled home a pair of runs in the second inning off Dave Swartzbaugh (0-2), preserving the third-longest hitting streak in the majors this season. He also had a run-scoring groundout, giving him three RBIs for the game and a career-high 80 for the season. • Astros 6, Mets 2 — At Houston, Derek Bell's seventh-inning single drove in two runs as Houston beat J^ew York in what was probably pitcher Doug Drabek's last game with the Astros. John Cangelosi, pinch-hitting for Drabek, was hit by a pitch from reliever Rick Trlicek to lead off the seventh. Brian Hunter then singled, Craig Biggio sacrificed and Jeff Bagwell was intentionally walked by reliever Jerry DiPoto, setting up Bell's two-run single. • Marlins 7, Braves 1 — At Miami, Andre Dawson, playing in his hometown for the final time, went 3-for-4 and drove in a run as the Florida Marlins extended their winning streak to six games by beating the Atlanta Braves, Greenwell unwilling to be role player FROM PAGE C1 Brett, now a Royals vice president, rejected talk that he and Glass do not get along and insisted they were friends. Glass could not attend because bad weather kept him from flying from Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., the Royals said. Brett said he would not reject the idea of becoming involved in any ownership proposal put forward by Glass. "If he wants me to be involved in his group, I wouldn't shy away from it," Brett said. "I imagine there will come a day when David and I sit down and talk." Under the complicated succession plan developed by Kauffman, the team is held in a charitable trust. In essence, Kauffman made the team a gift to the city in a plan that the IRS studied for two years , before approving. The seven-member board of directors was given six years to find a local buyer who would guarantee to keep the team in Kansas City. After that the team can be sold to the highest bidder, who would have no restrictions. The club has been a consistent money loser — even when it was a winner on the field — and the payroll was cut from a high of $45 million just before Kauffman's death to $18 million this year. Where once the Royals could count on nightly crowds of 30,000 or more, announced crowds this year were in the low teens and often seemed lower than that. The trust apparently is waiting to see what form of revenue-sharing is included in a labor agreement. The small-market Royals would benefit from revenue-sharing, and the value of the team consequently would be enhanced. The trust is committed to getting as much for the Royals as it can. Brett said he thought it would be two years before the team was put on the market. "Then you'll know what revenue-sharing is," he said. "Then some of our younger players will have developed. Let's face it, when we were trying to buy it, we were trying to buy it low. It could cost more." Red Sox fixture wants to move on rather than fill role Boston intends By The Associated Press BOSTON — Mike Greenwell said Thursday that he won't return next season as the role player that the Boston Red Sox want him to be. "My time here is done and it's time for me to move on and I'm not coming back here," he said in a measured, steady voice. "It doesn't break my heart but it sure makes it awful heavy." Greenwell, whose contract expires after the season, said he respects the club's policy of not negotiating during the season but said he was unwilling to be a role player after playing left field for a decade. "I've always said that I would take off this uniform under my terms and not someone else's," he said. He plans to play for Boston through the end of the season and was batting fifth in the lineup for Thursday night's game with the New York Yankees. He singled in the first inning, extending his hit- ting streak to 11 games, and scored a run. He left open the option of returning if no other team is interested in him. But that possibility seemed slim even though he is having a decent season with a .297 batting average heading into Thursday's game. The Red Sox are expected to try Wil Cordero, who played poorly at second base before being injured much of the season, in left field next year. Greenwell is second only to Roger Clemens in longevity with Boston. White resigns as coach BOSTON — Frank White is resigning after three years as the Boston Red Sox first base coach to work full time, for Blue Cross-Blue Shield in Kansas City, where he spent his entire 18 seasons as a player. White, who worked part-time for the organization in the offsea- son, said Thursday he was making the move for financial reasons. He said he would work in community relations and appear in television and radio advertisements. He said the expense of maintain- ing two residences in Boston and Kansas City contributed to his decision. "If the situation is right," he might return to baseball, White said. "I don't want to be just a first base coach. I've been a first base coach three years here and I just don't see that changing." •of Braves' stadium ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves' new stadium will be named for longtime owner Ted Turner, Turner Broadcasting System said Thursday. The announcement ended speculation that the stadium, scheduled to open in time for the 1997 season, would be named for home run king Hank Aaron or that the name would be sold to a commercial sponsor. The stadium was built for the Olympics and is being converted for use by the Braves beginning next season. Turner helped the Braves achieve national exposure by televising their games over his "su- perstation" on cable television systems around the country. He even tried managing the team for one game during a 17-game losing streak in 1977. The $250 million, 49,831-seat stadium replaces Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Bucs begin managerial search PITTSBURGH — They made the right choice in 1985. They know they can't possibly afford to make the wrong choice this time. The Pittsburgh Pirates will soon begin looking for a new manager, their first since they hired a relatively unknown Chicago White Sox third base coach named Jim Leyland in 1985. Among those likely to be considered as Leyland's replacement are Detroit Tigers third base coach Terry Francona, who grew up near Pittsburgh; San Diego Padres bullpen coach Grady Little; Chicago Cubs third base coach Tony Muser and Triple-A manager Trent Jewett, who has spent the last month with the Pirates. Also likely to get an interview is Pirates third base coach Gene Lamont, a former American League manager of the year with the White Sox, But it is likely the Pirates will employ someone other than a current Leyland staff member as their next manager.
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