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Ortiz Takes Worst of It for the Giants

October 21, 2002|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

Everything in the World Series is magnified because that's what happens when there are two teams left and only one prize.

So Russ Ortiz is definitely under the microscope.

The San Francisco Giant right-hander had one of the worst performances of a starter in World Series history Sunday night in the Angels' exhausting 11-10 victory in Game 2 before 44,584 at Edison Field.

"It was a little surprising," Giant right fielder Reggie Sanders said. "You know that anything can happen, but Russ is a strong guy. He's been great for us."

Until recently, anyway.

Ortiz was chased after only 1 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits and seven earned runs for a 37.80 earned-run average. It was ugly from for the start for Ortiz, who didn't see it coming.

"I was feeling great," Ortiz said. "Just like before any other start, I was feeling pumped up and ready to go. I just didn't execute."

That's for sure.

The Angels raced to a 5-0 first-inning lead against the former standout at Van Nuys Montclair Prep, batting around and inspiring fans to get their noise sticks going.

"We have a lot of confidence in Russ," third baseman David Bell said. "He's had a lot of success throwing the ball for us this year, but these things happen. And there was a lot of offense in this game. It wasn't all against him."

The Giants did what they could to help Ortiz, getting back into the game with four runs in the second against equally ineffective Angel starter Kevin Appier. Then Ortiz's nightmare continued in the second before Manager Dusty Baker ended his day.

Tim Salmon's first home run -- a two-run shot -- gave the Angels a 7-4 lead, but Baker stayed with his proven 14-game winner. That is until Troy Glaus doubled with two out, giving Baker no choice with the Giants still in the game because Appier was still working for the Angels.

"I don't know if Russ was nervous," Baker said. "He's a calm young man, so just give them credit for doing some hitting. They were hitting him early in the count. They were going first to third on us. They just ... their bats were hot.

"Everybody knows they can hit. I don't know if that's Russ' fault or if it's to their credit. You've seen this club hot before and they came out hot."

Ortiz would second that.

"These guys are big, strong guys," said Ortiz, who has struggled since the National League division series. "These guys know how to hit. If you make mistakes they are going to hit the ball.

"Going out for the second inning, I felt like I'd be able to get out of that inning. I don't know exactly where that pitch to Salmon was, but it obviously wasn't in the right place. Just a bad night."

Ortiz went 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in the Giants' division series victory over the Atlanta Braves, winning the opener and final game.

He has no-decisions in his last two postseason starts with a 15.63 ERA, giving up 14 hits and 11 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.

However, Ortiz isn't worried.

"To us it's just as intense as it is anytime. You always get butterflies, or at least I do, before every game. It can happen whether it's spring training or the first game of the year. You just have to put it aside."

Ortiz is counting on pitching again this season.

"It's 1-1 now, so I just have to feel good about that and be ready when they want me to pitch again," he said. "I will be."

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