For Lou Piniella, it was the kind of night that seemed to set his soul afire Tuesday - an evening on which no lead was safe, no pitcher trusted, no call unchallenged.
It was also a short night for Piniella, and because he was ejected in the second inning, he missed most of a remarkable ballgame.
With the Mariners manager watching from the couch in his Kingdome office, Ken Griffey Jr. hit a ball into the upper deck in right field, two explosive lineups flattened veterans Orel Hershiser and Dennis Martinez and each of the 24,348 fans in attendance took home a memory if not a baseball from a 14-8 Seattle win over Cleveland.
You want value for your entertainment dollar, try this: nine runs, 10 hits and an ejection before there were two outs in the top of the second inning. Three and a half hours later, the game was still in the eighth inning - Junior, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez had all homered - and the much-maligned Seattle bullpen had held the Indians to one run over the last five innings.
Earlier, something about umpire Derryl Cousins’ strike zone made Piniella forget weeks of pain from rectal surgery.
When he walked to the mound in the second inning, he barely spoke to his pitcher or catcher. Instead, he waited for Cousins to come out from behind the plate. Eventually, Cousins did - and Piniella said the magic words that got him ejected immediately.
As that crowd screamed “Looouuuuuuuu!”, the manager threw his hat, screamed at Cousins and then tried kicking dirt on home plate. Piniella then kicked the chalk that makes up the third base foul line, erased the chalk marking the batters box for right-handed hitters and moved to the left-handed batters box, kicking as he went.
The game began with Hershiser and Martinez looking over their shoulders to see their best seasons.
Martinez struck out the first batter he faced, Marquis Grissom, and then stumbled through an inning in which he faced nine men, allowed five hits, walked two and got one of the outs by tagging a runner at home.
Vintage pitching it wasn’t, and Cleveland led 4-0 before Hershiser threw a pitch.
Once the men traded places - Hershiser on the mound, Martinez watching from the opposing dugout - it was Cleveland’s turn to wince. Hershiser walked the first batter he faced, and Buhner followed a double by Alex Rodriguez and a single by Edgar Martinez with a three-run home run that tied the game.
And so it went, for what seemed like hours.
For every mistake Martinez made, Hershiser countered. For every Indians rally there was a Mariners comeback.
The Indians pushed ahead, 5-4. The Mariners chased Hershiser with a four-run fourth inning that put them ahead, 8-5.
Reliever Edwin Hurtado came to the mound in the fifth, and on his first pitch gave up a game-tying home run to Sandy Alomar - who has now homered in five consecutive games, a team record.
Seattle’s big bats eventually swung free and easy. Griffey had three hits and four RBIs, Buhner two hits, four RBIs, and The Edgar three hits and two RBIs.
For the 3-4-5 hitters in the M’s lineup, that added up to eight hits and 10 RBIs.
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