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The 39-year-old right-hander, routed in an 8-6 loss

Associated Press Published: October 7, 1997 12:00 AM

The 39-year-old right-hander, routed in an 8-6 loss in Game 1 of the AL division series in New York, battled like the Hershiser of old against the Yankees in Game 4 as Cleveland rallied for a 3-2 win Sunday night to force a Game 5.

"I think this is the first postseason game I've been involved in where my team came back and won," said Hershiser, one of baseball's foremost postseason pitchers. "It's a memory now, but it was awesome."

Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar tied it 2-2 with an eighth-inning homer off Mariano Rivera, and Omar Vizquel won it with a single in the ninth that went off Ramiro Mendoza's glove, past scrambling shortstop Derek Jeter and into center field to score Marquis Grissom.

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After a shaky 22-pitch first inning in which he yielded two runs, four hits and hit a batter, Hershiser _ 8-1 in 15 career postseason starts _ settled into a groove reminiscent of his 1988 NL Cy Young Award season.

He dueled with New York starter Dwight Gooden in a rematch of their Game 1 matchup in the 1988 NLCS when Gooden started for the New York Mets and Hershiser was with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Hershiser was able to escape the first inning down just 2-0 thanks to left fielder Brian Giles. Giles threw out Tino Martinez trying to score from second base on Charlie Hayes' single for the final out.

"You have to give credit to Hershiser," Gooden said. "When you got someone like that in the ropes you can't give him a chance to bounce back."

Hershiser, who is only signed through 1997 and has hinted about retiring after this season, allowed just those two runs and eight hits in seven innings with three strikeouts and no walks.

He gave up two hits in the second inning but just two more over the next


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