I don’t know if it’s much remembered outside Baltimore, but it was a brutal heartbreaker. Mike Mussina was brilliant, pitching 8 shutout innings and allowing only a single hit; but the Orioles hitters couldn’t come through when it counted, stranding 14 runners over the course of the game. Tony Fernandez finally won it for the Indians, 1-0, with a homer off Armando Benitez in the 11th, only the third Cleveland hit of the game.
Jim Thome, tonight’s DH for the Orioles, started in that game too, on the other side. Since then, Thome’s played in 39 playoff games, while the Orioles have played in none.
The Rangers are the best team in the American League, playing at home, with a legitimate ace starting the game.
But so were the Orioles, in 1997, and the Indians beat them.