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Bacsik Training

I'll say this for Mike Bacsik. He knows how to work his way into a milestone event.

Prior to Tuesday night, Bacsik had a claim to fame that few, other than regular readers of this blog, would appreciate.

Bacsik's major-league debut came on August 5, 2001, in a game between the Mariners and Indians, one that just happened to feature the greatest comeback of modern times. It wouldn't have been possible were it not for Bacsik's efforts.

It was a Sunday night contest, featuring a Mariners team with an 80-30 record against an Indians squad that was a more respectable 61-48. The Indians were all-too-hospitable hosts. Starter Dave Burba yielded four runs in the second inning, then was removed after yielding three straight hits to start the third.

Enter Bacsik, a rookie and son of a former big leaguer, who must have been a little nervous. He was greeted by Mike Cameron, who doubled home two runs. Next was Carlos Guillen, who singled home two more. By the time the last Mariners run was driven in (by a John Olerud RBI single), the score was 12-0 in favor of visiting Seattle.

Meanwhile Mariners starter Aaron Sele was having little trouble. Jim Thome hit a two-run homer in the home fourth, but the Mariners got the two runs right back in the top of the fifth, making the score 14-2.

Give Bacsik credit (um...sort of, anyway) for holding the score there. He survived the sixth and seventh unscathed, as the Mariners began removing regulars from the game. In the home seventh, the Indians put up a mini-outburst, scoring three times to chase Sele from the game. But Seattle was still up nine runs heading into the eighth inning.

Bacsik had no trouble in the eighth, his sixth and final inning (his final line, six innings, seven runs, nine hits) of the evening. The Indians closed the gap just a little bit more in the eighth inning, by scoring four runs, but had another scoring threat snuffed out, leaving the score 14-9 heading to the ninth.

It was still 14-9 with two men out and only one man on base in the home ninth, when all heck broke lose. A double, walk, and two singles cut the score to 14-11, and the bases were loaded for Omar Vizquel, against Mariners closer Kaz Sasaki. The at-bat lasted eight pitches and twice Vizquel managed to foul off a pitch to keep the turn alive. On the eighth pitch, he drilled a ball down the right field line. The ball rolled all the way into the corner for a triple. All three runs scored. Game tied, 14-14.

The contest didn't conclude until the 11th when the Indians strung together three straight hits, the last a single by Jolbert Cabrera, to complete the rally from 12 runs down to win, 15-14. It was one heck of a way for Mike Bacsik to be welcomed into the big leagues, and now, I suppose he can tell his friends and family the stories of how he played an integral role in two "greatests" in baseball history.

True Metcsik's know...Since that game, Mike Bacsik has not pitched in a major-league game that featured his team winning in walk-off fashion. I suppose once you've been in the greatest walk-off comeback ever that there's nowhere else to go but down.


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