Baseball: Blue Jays' first for Canada

Click to follow
IT MAY not have moved far from US soil but the Toronto Blue Jays at last took the World Series to Canada last night when they beat the Oakland Athletics 9-2 at the SkyDome to take the American League Championship series 4-2.

With many of the 50,000 crowd waving maple leaf flags, Juan Guzman, the Toronto starter, did what his fellow pitchers Jack Morris and David Cone could not, winning for the Blue Jays after three days of rest. But his job was made a lot easier by Joe Carter, who drilled the A's starter Mike Moore for a two-run homer to centrefield in the first inning, and Candy Maldonado, who went one better with a three-run shot in the third that sent Moore packing.

Maldonado had special reason to savour his 424-foot shot, for he was a member of the San Francisco Giants team who were whitewashed 4-0 by the then imperious A's in the 1989 'earthquake' World Series.

For Rickey Henderson, who had run Toronto ragged in game five, it was not a night to remember. He had a two-base error in the first before Carter's homer, and struck out to end the third and fifth innings, both times with two runners on. In the seventh, Henderson, the Most Valuable Player of the 1989 play-offs against Toronto, flied out to right with a runner on to finish the day 0 for 4.

As the Blue Jays celebrated last night, they watched the seventh and deciding game of the National League Championship series between Atlanta and Pittsburgh in Atlanta.

The Pirates had evened the series at 3-3 on Tuesday with a 13-4 victory over the Braves, eight of those runs coming off Atlanta's starter Tom Glavine in the second inning, an NL play-off record. Tim Wakefield took his second play- off victory, throwing a complete game for Pittsburgh.