Randy Johnson couldn’t finish off the Cleveland Indians, so Jay Buhner did.
Buhner’s second home run of the night, a three-run shot off Eric Plunk in the 11th inning, atoned for a critical eighth-inning error and gave the Seattle Mariners a 5-2 victory Friday night. The Mariners took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 AL playoffs.
The victory was huge for the Mariners because it guaranteed they’ll get at least one more game at the Kingdome, even if they lose the next two at Jacobs Field. It was also pivotal because they need two more wins to advance to the World Series - and Johnson can make another start if he’s needed.
The Mariners are 30-3 in games Johnson has pitched in this year, and they are 4-1 at the dome in the postseason.
Cleveland, which had tied the game thanks to Buhner’s error, lost for the first time in 15 extra-inning games this year.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Mariner stars of the game: Jay Buhner hits game-winner, his second home run of the night. Randy Johnson pitches eight strong innings but leaves game tied. Norm Charlton gets the victory with three scoreless innings in relief. Indians star:Pitcher Charles Nagy strikes out 6 in eight innings. Series standing: Seattle leads Cleveland 2-1 (best of seven). Game 4: 4 p.m PDT today in Cleveland; Andy Benes (Mariners) vs. Ken Hill (Indians).