- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 9, 2002

BALTIMORE Fernandomania came first. Fourteen years later, in 1995, Los Angeles was gripped by Nomo-fever. Now Kazuhisa Ishii is the foreign rookie pitcher who's thrilling the Dodgers and their fans.
Last night after a rough first inning, the 28-year-old Japanese left-hander won for the 10th time in 11 decisions as Los Angeles beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 before 39,489 at Camden Yards.
"I'm not too surprised [by my success]," Ishii said through an interpreter. "At the beginning, I wasn't feel right on, but what was important for me was that I find my rhythm, and that's what I was able to do. This game was the first time that I felt I was pitching the way I was when I was pitching well in Japan."
Ishii gave up five hits and four runs over 6⅓ innings en route to forging the best start by a Dodger since Doug Rau began 1977 with an 11-1 record. Ishii, who struck out four and walked two, joined Arizona's Curt Schilling and Atlanta's Tom Glavine as the majors' only double-digit winners.
"[Ishii] has the capability of dominating an opponent," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove praised Ishii's stuff, particularly his curveball, but noted that the hosts were in a generous mood, bailing the latest La-La land phenom out of a lot of deep counts.
The Orioles weren't as kind to teammate Jason Johnson. In his first start since going on the disabled list April 25 with a fractured middle finger of his pitching hand, the right-hander (1-4) allowed five hits and four runs (three earned) in six innings. But he was let down by inept baserunning, an error by third baseman Tony Batista and a rough outing by reliever Chris Brock.
"I was somewhat satisfied," Johnson said. "My finger felt fine, but my control was really erratic, and I didn't have the extra couple of miles on my fastball. That will take a couple more starts."
Johnson got in immediate hot water, giving up a leadoff single to Dave Roberts and a double to Paul Lo Duca. One out later, Brian Jordan walked and Eric Karros delivered a sacrifice fly before Johnson fanned Marquis Grissom.
Ishii had a reverse experience in the bottom of the inning. After getting two quick outs, he walked Gary Matthews Jr., and Jeff Conine lined a single to center. Batista then smacked a 3-0 pitch into the left field bleachers for his team-high 15th homer and a 3-1 lead.
It was just the fifth homer Ishii has surrendered, and Batista said he "got lucky" because he was so far ahead in the count that the rookie had to pitch to him.
With one out in the third, Johnson walked Lo Duca before Shawn Green tattooed a 1-0 mistake changeup over the scoreboard in right to tie the game. Green's 14th homer traveled 410 feet and was just the 27th to land on Eutaw Street in the 11-year history of Camden Yards.
The Dodgers reclaimed the lead in the fourth without a hit. Adrian Beltre reached when Batista booted his grounder to third, stole second and came around on consecutive bouncers to shortstop.
The Orioles followed that baserunning clinic by running themselves out of the bottom of the inning. Conine opened with a single to left but was thrown out trying for second. Batista then singled and one out later was caught stealing to end the inning.
"We want to be aggressive on the bases and put pressure on the other team," Hargrove said. "There are times when it doesn't work and it looks real ugly. Tonight it didn't work."
Los Angeles added to its lead in the seventh against Brock in his first appearance since going on the DL with inflammation in his right shoulder April 16.

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