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Marlins ace falters again

October 26, 1997

MIAMI (AP) _ The Florida Marlins’ best wasn’t good enough. In fact, he wasn’t very good at all.

Ace Kevin Brown took his lumps for the second time in as many World Series starts Saturday, and the Cleveland Indians forced a seventh game with a 4-1 victory.

The matchup between Brown and Chad Ogea turned out to be a mismatch _ especially when Ogea was at the plate.

Ogea, 0-for-2 during the regular season, drove in the first two runs with a second-inning single. He doubled and scored in the fifth to give Cleveland a 4-0 lead.

That was Brown’s last inning. He departed for a pinch hitter after giving up five hits, three walks and four runs.

``He wasn’t great, but it was kind of a freak game for him.″ Florida manager Jim Leyland said. ``Ogea hurt him a little bit.″

A loud crowd of 67,498 began the night poised to celebrate Miami’s first professional sports championship since the 1973 Dolphins won the Super Bowl. Fans will return for Game 7 less confident, because Florida’s starting pitcher will be erratic left-hander Al Leiter, who is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in the postseason.

Brown lost for the second time since July 27, and for the second time in six days. In Game 2, he allowed Cleveland 10 hits and six runs in six innings. He finished with a World Series ERA of 8.18, compared with 2.69 during the regular season.

The scowling right-hander hasn’t been the same since a viral infection delayed his second start in the National League championship series for two games. He was the winning pitcher in Florida’s pennant-clinching victory at Atlanta but gave up 11 hits. He also threw 140 pitches in that game, which may have taken a toll.

``That’s possible,″ Leyland said. ``But guys on both teams are tired, and you’ve got pretty good adrenaline going.″

Whatever the reason, Brown couldn’t come through with another clincher Saturday.

When the 32-year-old veteran took the mound for the biggest game of his life, it was quickly clear he didn’t have his usual sharp command, walking three of the first eight batters. Then came Ogea’s line single on a 2-2 pitch.

Among the 15 outs Brown recorded, only five came on groundballs, meaning his best pitch _ a hard sinking fastball _ failed to fool the Indians.

In the World Series, a nasty scowl and sinker aren’t always enough.

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