Cleveland ousts Red Sox; Hershiser 5-0 in playoffs

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND Seven years later, the playoffs still bring out the best in Orel Hershiser.

Making his first postseason appearance since he won the clinching game of the 1988 World Series, Hershiser gave up three hits in 7 1-3 scoreless innings as Cleveland beat Boston 4-0 Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in the AL playoffs.

Eddie Murray homered and Omar Vizquel doubled home two runs for the Indians, who need only one more win in the best-of-5 series. It continues Friday in Boston, with the Red Sox sending knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield against Charles Nagy.

The 37-year-old Hershiser boosted his record to 5-0 with a save and a 1.52 ERA in nine career postseason appearances, eight of them starts. He was the MVP of both the NL playoffs and the World Series for Los Angeles in 1988.

He underwent major shoulder surgery in 1990 and has been working his way back since.

''I'm pretty much in awe that this is happening to me,'' he said. ''To continue to have success at this stage in my career after going through the surgery the only thing I ask myself is to give my best.

''My movement and my velocity are back to where they were pre-surgery. The thing I'm still working on a little bit is playing with that loaded gun. It kind of surprises me once in a while.''

The Red Sox lost their 12th consecutive postseason game dating to Bill Buckner's infamous error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, a string that was extended by a 5-4, 13-inning loss in Tuesday night's series opener.

Mo Vaughn and Jose Canseco, the third and fourth hitters in Boston's lineup, have gone a combined 0-for-20 with seven strikeouts in the two games.

''Sure, it's frustrating, but you have to give a lot of credit to Orel,'' Canseco said. ''His ball was moving all over the place. I go back to facing him in '88 (when Canseco was with Oakland), and he threw harder then. But he's plenty tough right now. He was awesome tonight with sinkers, breaking balls, and hitting spots.''

Hershiser, signed by the Indians as a free agent in April partly because of his big-game experience, gave up three singles, walked two and set a Cleveland postseason record with seven strikeouts. He took himself out when his back began to stiffen up in the eighth.

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