The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 21, 1996 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

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Monday, October 21, 1996
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84 MONDAY. OCTOBER 21, 1996 SPORTS THE SAUNA JOURNAL T WORLD SERIES Staked to huge lead, Smoltz quiets Yankees NL's Cy Young Award favorite allows just two hits in six innings By The Associated Press NEW YORK — What a mismatch it was: John Smoltz with a huge lead. Two or three runs is usually enough for Atlanta's 24-game winner. When Smoltz gets eight runs over the first three innings, forget about it. "The tradition and talk of Yankee Stadium is nice, but I don't get caught up in all of that," said Smoltz, who was his usual dominating self but hardly got noticed in the Braves' 12-1 victory. Smoltz, the favorite to win his first Cy Young Award, has already established himself as pitching"s Mr. October. Though unusually wild Sunday night, he didn't give up his first hit until there were two outs in the fifth, a run-scoring double by Wade Boggs. "You just never want to give up any runs and create any momentum for the other team," he said. "I could care less about the no- hitter, but the run bothered me." He left after the sixth inning, having allowed only two hits and thrown 104 pitches. If the Series goes to five games, he'll come back on three days' rest having been hardly tested Sunday. "The six innings tonight is a bonus, knowing I'm going to come back in three days," he said. It was Smoltz's fourth straight win since the regular season ended and improved his career postseason record to a remarkable 9-1 with a 2.35 ERA. Smoltz is a free agent at the end of this season, and he has thrown all year like he wants to become a very rich man. He has 28 wins overall, one of the most remarkable pitching years in recent history — especially for someone who had a career record of 90-82 prior to this season. Why has someone who never won more than 15 games prior to 1996 become the most dominant pitcher in the game? Smoltz usually points to the elbow surgery he had after the strike ended the 1994 season, relieving the pain that had hounded him for several years. More importantly, perhaps, he finally erased the mental demons that came from listening to his critics more than he should have. At the outset against the Yankees, Smoltz looked shaky. He had averaged fewer than two walks per nine innings during the regular season, yet he walked four of the first nine hitters he faced. A couple of years ago, Smoltz might have fallen apart, let the raucous crowd at Yankee Stadium invade his psyche. Instead, he calmly escaped from trouble. Yankees struggle in lopsided loss AL champs fall behind early, never recover in World Series opener By The Associated Press NEW YORK —The Yankees and their fans waited 15 years for this? Their ace pitcher was seated in the dugout in the third inning, they didn't get a hit until the fifth and the 56,365 who came to rock Yankee Stadium sat quietly in stunned disbelief. When the Braves took an 11- run lead in the sixth inning en route to their 12-1 win, fans were streaming toward the exits. And the ones who couldn't get a ticket were probably channel surfing at home. The only chance New York had at that point was to hope for a rainout, and Mother Nature showed up even later that the Yankees did. It started raining in the bottom of the sixth after the rout was official. "We just ran into a buzzsaw tonight," Wade Boggs said. After winning their first AL pennant since 1981 in Baltimore last weekend, the Yankees returned home as the toasts of the town. They partied, went to see the Knicks and Rangers play at the Garden and watched Atlanta and St. Louis play the final four games of the NL playoffs on television. Sunday night, they finally got to meet the world champions in person, and the Braves showed them why they're the team of the '90s. "If you give the Braves an eight-run lead," Derek Jeter said, "you're in trouble." October baseball used to belong to the Yankees. This is, after all, New York's 34th World Series appearance. But in Game 1, the Yankees played like it was their Fall Classic debut. Maybe they were too well- rested. They didn't think that their layoff— extended one more day by Saturday's postponement — would have much of an effect, but it sure didn't help. "It's an excuse," manager Joe Torre said. "You can't use that. They were a better team than we were and that's that.... We were just overwhelmed with the way they whacked the ball around." Starter Andy Pettitte was picked to start Game 1 after winning 21 games during the regular season and pitching eight innings of three-hit ball in the pennant-clinching win over the Orioles. Pettitte was supposed to shorten the game so Torre could go to his bullpen early. This wasn't quite what the Yankees had in mind, though. The left-hander lasted only 2 1/3 innings. NOTEBOOK NEW YORK — Since trailing St. Louis 3-1 in the NL championship series, the Atlanta Braves have outscored their opponents 44-2. "That's what we were lacking in September, that killer instinct," Marquis Grissom said after Sunday night's 12-1 laugher over the Yankees in the World Series opener. "I think we learned our lesson." DH dilemma Who has the advantage when baseball's split personality over the designated hitter is exposed each year at the World Series: the American or National League team? Atlanta manager Bobby Cox casts his vote for the NL, especially when the Series shifts to the Braves' home park and the Yankees will have to insert their pitcher in the batting order. "I think the National League has always had the advantage," he said. "Their pitchers never see live pitching. They don't get to work on their hitting or bunting. You can practice all you want, but it's not the same." The Braves, on the other hand, will still be able to use left fielder Ryan Klesko when the Series is at Yankee Stadium. Klesko, who had 34 homers and 93 RBIs during the regular season, is normally benched against left-handed pitching, but he remained in the lineup for Game 1, batting eighth. He went O-for-4. Nineteen-year-old Andruw Jones started in left, giving the Braves a superb defensive outfield. Jones was impressive on the offensive end, homering his first two times up and finishing 3-for-4 with three runs scored and five RBIs. Stat corner The Yankees lost a Series Game 1 at home for just the fourth time in 18 games. New York is 20-14 in Series openers. ... The Yankees had their fewest hits in a Series game since Don Drysdale of the Dodgers pitched a three-hitter against them in Game 3 in 1963.... In 21 postseason games starting with the 1995 NL championship series, the Braves have a team ERA of 1.79. —The Associated Press T AUTO RACING: AC-DELCO 400 Rudd reigns; Labonte points leader Late gamble pays off as Rudd extends string of consecutive seasons with a victory to 14 By The Associated Press ROCKINGHAM, N.C. — With time running out to extend his streak, Ricky Rudd gambled and won. He remained on the track while the other leaders made a final pit stop, and the decision gave him a victory Sunday in the AC-Delco 400 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. The win, his first since Oct. 29, 1995 at Phoenix, extended Rudd's string of consecutive seasons with at least one victory to 14 — second among active drivers to Dale Earnhardt's 15 straight years. The victory last year at Phoenix came in Rudd's next-to-last chance to extend his streak. This time, he drove his Ford to victory in the 29th of 31 Winston Cup races. Rudd led 81 laps, including the final 74, and beat the Ford of Dale Jarrett to the finish line by 3.39-seconds — nearly a full straightaway on the 1.017-mile oval. "In that last caution, we only had 12 or 13 laps on the tires, and I knew we had to have track position," said owner-driver Rudd. "We decided to roll the dice, and it worked out." The runner-up spot was a big disappointment to Jarrett, the pole-winner, who led 207 of 393 laps. But he lost the lead to Rudd when he pitted on lap 320 during the last of seven caution periods. Terry Labonte never led, but finished third in his Chevrolet to wrest the series lead from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon, who fell behind with an early handling problem. Gordon finished 12th, and fell from a one-point lead to a 32-point deficit. Jarrett remained third, moving within 76 points of the lead. "The guys worked on the car all day and never got it quite right," Labonte said. "But that was a good third place, and I'm happy T GOLF The Associated Press Ricky Rudd celebrates in victory lane Sunday afternoon after winning the AC-Delco 400. we're in the lead. "I guess Jeff had a problem with a set of tires early in the race, but he'll be tough next week at Phoenix." Jarrett said fate worked against him. "Our car was awesome all day, but that last set of tires just wasn't right," he explained. "I wish we knew exactly when you're going to get the right set of tires. That last set just didn't stick as well as the rest of them. But at least we picked up some points. "We'll just go on out to Phoenix and try to win that race, and maybe we can just keep on picking up points." Rudd, who won $90,025, averaged 122.320 mph on the way to his 17th career victory and first at Rockingham. Ernie Irvan, Jarrett's Robert Yates Racing teammate, finished fourth. HGe was followed by Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace and Earnhardt. Gordon picked up the five-point bonus for leading at least one lap when he took the top spot on lap 81. But the defending series champion suddenly began to lose ground as the handling on his Chevrolet went awry after he pitted on lap 82. The 25-year-old, who led the standings by 111 points over Labonte just two races ago, steadily lost ground and was put a lap down by then- leader Irvan on lap 163. Gordon fell all the way to 22nd place before rallying. He managed to get back on the lead lap briefly, but lost it again on lap 287 and never regained it. Several of the caution flags were brought out by hard crashes. Woods wins Disney duel over Stewart Tiger nabs second pro title; Smith disqualified for illegal grip on putter By The Associated Press LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Tiger Woods has done it again. Woods, who turned professional eight weeks ago and has played brilliant golf ever since, won his second tournament in three weeks on Sunday at the Disney Classic. In a brilliantly played duel with former U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart, Woods shot a 6-under- par 66 to finish at 267 — easily giving him enough money to play in next week's $3 million Tour Championship. "I've managed my game really well," Woods said. I'm getting myself in position. I haven't really played my best yet." A scary thought, indeed. His 66 on Sunday was the 21st time he has shot in the 60s in 27 rounds as a professional. He has finished in the top five in five T SOCCER WOODS straight tournaments — the first to do it since Curtis Strange in 1982. The $216,000 for winning Sunday gave him $734,794 in just seven events and put him No. 23 on the money list. He could win $1 million by finishing second at the Tour Championship, which involves only the top 30 on the money list. The win did not come without some measure of controversy. Taylor Smith, a 29-year-old rookie looking for his first win on tour, was disqualified because the grip on his putter did not conform to USGA standards. Smith's putter has two grips that have a flat side near the bottom of each. USGA rules require that both grips must be round. Smith was 18 under, two strokes behind Woods, when he was notified of the illegal putter. He asked to play under appeal, then finished with a birdie on No. 18 to tie Woods at 21 under. The technical director for the USGA, who is in charge of equipment specifications, was contacted in Japan and upheld the disqualification. Els tops World Match Play VIRGINIA WATER, England — Ernie Els reeled off the names of the stars he has beaten to win a record three straight World Match Play titles. Seve Ballesteros, Jose Marie Olaz- abal and Colin Montgomerie for his first victory two years ago. Lee Janzen, Bernhard Langer and Steve Elkington for win No. 2 last year. Now add Steve Strieker, Mark Brooks and Vijay Singh to that list. Els came back from six down to oust Strieker on Friday and then scored a semifinal record 10 and 8 victory to eliminate Brooks, the PGA titlist. In Sunday's final at wet and windy Wentworth, he defeated Vijay Singh 3 and 2. Els prevailed on a day when neither player was especially sharp. The latest victory brought the South African's cumulative earnings in the tournament to $780,000. Els tapped in a 2-footer at the 16th to clinch a victory that brought him $265,200. Singh won $140,400. Colbert wins Seniors event EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. — Jim Colbert won his fifth Senior PGA Tour title of the year, shooting a 5-under-par 67 in windy conditions for a five-stroke victory in the Gold Rush Classic. Colbert, an 18-time winner in six years on the tour, earned $120,000 to take the money lead from Hale Ir- win with $1,490,995. The 1995 money leader finished with a 14-under 202 total on the Serrano Country Club. Shooting his 14th consecutive sub- par round, Colbert had six birdies on the back nine to distance himself from Irwin and Dave Stockton. Sorenstam one-shot winner SEOUL, South Korea — Sweden's Annika Sorenstam shot a 2- under-par 70, beating compatriot Helen Alfredsson by a shot Sunday to win the World Championship of Women's Golf for the second straight year. Sorenstam thrilled 6,000 spectators at the 9th and 14th holes, both par-4s, with long par-saving putts. She won with a 274, 14-under at the 6,377-yard Ildong Lake course. Cink wins Nike Championship ROSWELL, Ga. — Stewart Cink, the 1995 college player of the year at Georgia Tech, shot a 1- over-par 73 for a four-stroke victory in the season-ending Nike Tour Championship. Cink, who had a 7-under 281 total on the Settindown Creek course, earned $45,000 for his third victory of the year to push his tour-record total to $251,699. The top 10 on the money list qualified for the 1997 PGA Tour. .. - ;: B.C. United clips Galaxy in overtime Pope's header delivers come-from-behind MLS Cup title for D.C. United By The Associated Press FOXBORO, Mass. — In a driving rainstorm, the inaugural MLS Cup was a game that shined. Eddie Pope headed in Marco Etcherverry's corner kick 31/2 minutes into overtime Sunday to complete D.C. United's rally from a two-goal deficit to beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2. "Marco put the ball on my head, as usual," the 22-year-old defender said. "All I had to do was redirect it." All three of D.C.'s goals came off set plays started by Etcheverry, and the first two were scored by coach Bruce Arena's second-half substitutes. "It's a great day, terrific," a soaked but smiling Washington midfielder John Harkes said. "It's just a beautiful feeling." Tony Sanneh started the comeback by scoring off a free kick in the 73rd minute. Sanneh, who came on for midfielder John Maessner in the 58th, jumped high at the right post to meet Etcheverry's free kick and drive it in from 7 yards out. Shawn Medved, who replaced Mario Gori in the 70th minute, tied it with eight minutes remaining. Etcheverry's free kick was punched out by Los Angeles keep- er Jorge Campos and landed at Medved's feet. Medved took one shot that Campos saved, but the Washington midfielder poked the rebounded in. A dozen Washingtpn fans waited more than hour after the game in the pouring rain to catch a glimpse of their heroes. "It felt like a home-field advantage," Arena said. "They hung in there through overtime. They were brilliant." With field conditions less than ideal, Chris Armas gave Los Angeles what seemed to be a safe 2-0 lead only 10 minutes into the second half. It was the 24-year-old American midfielder's third goal of the year, one of which came earlier in the playoffs. He picked up the ball just outside the area, one-touched it past a retreating Jeff Agoos and blast it past goalkeeper Mark Simpson from about 15 yards away. Despite the horrible weather, which included 30-mph wind gusts, MLS Cup '96 still drew a crowd of 34,643 to the 58,000-seat Foxboro Stadium. The rain that pounded the Boston area for more than a day made the field heavily soggy. A few shallow puddles developed after the tarpaulin was removed about 21/2 hours before kickoff. Los Angeles scored its first goal as Mauricio Cienfuegos bent a left-footed cross from the right edge of the penalty area to Eduardo Hurtado, who outjumped the defense 10 yards from the goal and headed the ball just inside the right post. D.C. United then carried the play for the remainder of the first half, with the Galaxy seemingly content to counterattack. Washington's best chance to tie it came in the llth minute when Jaime Moreno passed to an unmarked Richie Willians six yards from goal. Williams however, chipped the ball harmlessly over the bar. T COLLEGE BASKETBALL Wichita State's Arnett dismissed from team By The Journal Staff WICHITA — Carter Arnett, a starting forward on the Wichita State basketball team last season, has been dismissed from the team. According to published reports Arnett, a 6-foot-8 junior from Olathe, failed three drug tests, the latest on Tuesday. According to a report in Saturday's Wichita Eagle, Arnett arrived for practice AOMPTT Tuesday, the AHNCII first official day of practice for NCAA-mem- ber schools, but was sent to the locker room and asked to provide a urine sample. As of Friday, Arnett had not been heard from since Tuesday and had not been informed that he had been dismissed, according to the report. WSU athletic director Bill Belknap confirmed Friday that Arnett had been dismissed from the team but would not elaborate on the cause, the story said. Federal privacy requirements prohibit schools from disclosing the cause why athletes have been dismissed. Wichita State's student-athlete drug policy mandates dismissal from participation after a third positive drug test. Arnett underwent knee surgery in the summer, but had been cleared to practice with the team when workouts began last week. Arnett, who played at Olathe East High School, averaged 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in 22 starts last season. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.7 rebounds while playing all of WSU's games as a freshman.

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