Paul Meyer's Baseball Notebook: The 10-run trail
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Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Andrew Sisco might have thought about walking home after giving up the final two runs to the Indians, turning a 10-1 first-inning lead into a 15-13 loss Wednesday night.
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Bob Walk had barely begun his evening's work in Atlanta as the Pirates' radio analyst Wednesday than he began to watch history repeat itself almost 800 miles away.
On his computer, he noticed that the Kansas City Royals had put up a 10-spot against visiting Cleveland in the first inning.
"My first thought was, 'How long is it between Kansas City and Cleveland?'" Walk said.
It was June 8, 1989 all over again.
That night in Philadelphia, the Pirates scored 10 runs in the first inning only to lose to the Phillies, 15-11.
Until Wednesday night, the Pirates were the only team in major league history to craft a 10-run inning and lose the game.
Now the Pirates are joined by the Royals, who lost to Cleveland, 15-13, in 10 innings.
During the game in Philadelphia 17 years ago, Pirates broadcaster Jim Rooker vowed that if the Pirates lost that game, he'd walk back to Pittsburgh.
Rooker did, too, staging a walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh for charity.
No word on whether any Kansas City broadcaster made a similar promise Wednesday night. For the record, Kansas City and Cleveland are 672 miles apart.
Some walk that would be.
Interestingly, that night in Philadelphia Walk had trouble walking.
He pulled his groin trying to beat a double-play ball in the second inning.
"I was very selfish," Walk said. "I said, 'I'll get through five [innings and qualify for a win].' And because I was selfish trying to get a win for myself I cost the team a win. I guess I needed to be taught a lesson.
"It was incredible to lose that game, but you're glad the bad things happen as well as the good things because that's what makes it a memorable career. I'm happy to have been involved in that kind of thing. How do you ever appreciate the good if you haven't felt the bad?
"It became a legendary game. Rook raised money for charity. I'm proud to have been part of it."
The long comeback
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge's take on his team's comeback Wednesday?
"Your experience in baseball tells you that there is still a long way to go [after the first inning] and that baseball is a crazy game," Wedge told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Anything can happen."
Oakland's 'huge' comeback
The surging Oakland Athletics had a similar comeback last week.
On Monday night, down 8-0 after two innings, they rallied to win in Toronto, 12-10 -- the night Blue Jays manager John Gibbons and Blue Jays starter Ted Lilly fought each other, or not.
Oakland starter Dan Haren yielded nine runs but got the win.
"It turned from one of my worst days in baseball to maybe one of my favorites," Haren said.
"Awesome. Huge," Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez said. "We should have lost and wound up with the win. That's pretty cool. We need to do that if we're going to win this thing."
Casey's bad day
Sean Casey once again proved he's a stand-up guy Thursday after one of his worst moments on a baseball field.
Against the Chicago White Sox, Casey grounded out to left field, producing perhaps the first "5-7-3" play in baseball history.
Casey, robbed of a hit in the third inning by White Sox center fielder Brian Anderson, smoked a line drive in the fifth inning that he thought third baseman Joe Crede caught. Casey stopped running to first base and turned back to the Tigers' dugout.
However, the ball had gone off Crede's glove and skipped into left field.
Casey reversed his tracks and sprinted to first base -- only to have left fielder Pablo Ozuna's throw beat him by gnat's eyelash.
"I've been blessed with a lot of gifts," Casey said, "but speed wasn't one of them. It was a frustrating day for a lot of different reasons, and that was just part of the frustration. But what's great about this game is that you always get a quick shot at redemption."
Sometimes, though, not all that quick.
Casey came to bat again in the seventh inning -- and was booed by some Tigers fans.
"I was disappointed -- very disappointed," Tigers manager Jim Leyland told the Detroit Free Press. "We have great fans, but that was very disappointing. That showed me those particular fans don't watch baseball and have not watched Sean Casey play.
"We stunk. I'm not looking to blame any fan. But that was disappointing."
Moments later, somebody else asked Leyland about the Casey play.
"Does anybody in their right mind think Sean Casey stands at home plate and says, 'I'm not running'?" Leyland said, bristling. "Even Crede thought he caught the ball. That's a real bad question, a terrible question. In fact, [it's] a brutal question. I don't want to deal with that silly stuff. We stunk."
Cardinals in grinding mode
The St. Louis Cardinals, who at least twice this season appeared ready to take control of the National League Central, entered the weekend in a virtual dead heat for the division lead with the pesky Cincinnati Reds.
After being swept in a three-game series in New York Thursday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa held a team meeting.
"It's a different situation this year," said closer Jason Isringhausen, who normally at this time of the season -- like all the Cardinals -- is making postseason plans. "This was a different speech than what I've heard before at this time of year.
"It's not, 'We've got to get everyone rested. We've got to get everyone ready.' It's a grind now. Those are my words, not his. It's time for a push -- time to put the nose to the grindstone."
Isringhausen has been part of the problem for the Cardinals. He has nine blown saves, most of them on home runs hit off his usually reliable cut fastball.
"My cutter has been my bread-and-butter the last few years," Isringhausen told the St. Louis Post Dispatch, "and I bet on all of the big hits that I've given up this year probably 99.9 percent of them have been on the cutter. The home runs are what's alarming to me. They've been on the same pitch. I don't have an explanation."
The Red Sox wrong turn
The Cardinals aren't in as much trouble as the Boston Red Sox.
The pitching-thin Red Sox led the New York ATMs by four games in the American League East July 4.
After their epic five-game sweep in Fenway Park that ended last Monday, the Yankees led the Red Sox by 61/2 games.
"We have four games [left] with those guys [Sept. 15-17 in New York], and they need help," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It's our job to make sure they don't get help."
The Red Sox seemed downright beat up in the aftermath of the five-game dustup that might have determined their October fate.
"An emotional weekend," second baseman Mark Loretta told the Boston Globe. "That was, I think, the most physically and emotionally demanding stretch of games I've ever been part of."
"Believe me, this [was] not fun," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "This [was] horrible. It [was] not easy to take, believe me. We came into the series thinking we could make up some ground. Everything went about as wrong as it could."
From outfielder to cheerleader
Philadelphia center fielder Aaron Rowand, probably out for the rest of the season because of a broken ankle, outlined his six-week plan to the Philadelphia Inquirer: "I'm going to buy some red, white and blue pom-poms."
First Published August 27, 2006 12:00 am