OAKLAND, Calif.--Reliever Jay Howell got even by getting Mark McGwire out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning last night, preserving the Los Angeles Dodgers' 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics and moving them within one game of the World Series title.
The crippled Dodgers will try to win their sixth title and first since 1981 when ace Orel Hershiser faces Storm Davis in Game 5 tonight. Of the 35 teams that took a 3-1 lead in the Series, 30 went on to win.
Howell, victimized by McGwire's game-winning home run in the ninth inning a night earlier, got revenge this time. He relieved starter Tim Belcher with two outs in the seventh. The Dodgers were ahead, 4-3. A walk and error loaded the bases.
McGwire, just 1-for-13 in the Series, swung at a first-pitch fastball and popped it straight up to first baseman Tracy Woodson. Howell finished for a save in the same ballpark where fans constantly booed him last year when he pitched for the A's.
He ended the game by striking out A's home run king Jose Canseco, who hit a grand slam in the first game, on a 3-2 pitch with the tying run on first and getting Dave Parker on a foul pop to third.
The Dodgers ended a streak of 13 consecutive victories by the home team in the World Series. They did it the hard way, with top hitters Kirk Gibson and Mike Marshall unable to start because of injuries and catcher Mike Scioscia forced to leave with a twisted right knee in the fourth inning.
Gibson was the hero in Game 2 in which he hobbled up to the plate and hit a game-winning homer.
Oakland's starting lineup had outhomered Los Angeles 132-36 this season, but Belcher and Howell continued the Athletics' Series-long slump.
Belcher, just the third pitcher to start in the Series on his birthday--he turned 27--went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs, two of them earned, on seven hits.
Dave Stewart, a two-time 20-game winner, took the loss. He gave up four runs, only two earned, on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Neither team played particularly well. Oakland made two errors and Los Angeles one, although there were several other sloppy plays.
Dave Henderson, who had four of Oakland's nine hits, doubled home Walt Weiss, who singled, in the seventh. That finished Belcher, and Howell walked Canseco on five pitches before usually reliable shortstop Alfredo Griffin dropped a liner by Dave Parker, loading the bases and bringing up McGwire.