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Hentgen pulls Cy surprise

 
Published Nov. 13, 1996|Updated Sept. 17, 2005

Pat Hentgen and Andy Pettitte both were surprised Tuesday when the Toronto right-hander won the AL Cy Young Award.

"I feel honored that my name's next to that award forever," Hentgen said after his upset victory. "To be honest, I definitely prepared myself to come in second. I was a little shocked. I think I'm overwhelmed right now."

"All the talk was that I would definitely win," Yankees left-hander Pettitte said. "I'm like, these people know something I don't. I was a little surprised."

Hentgen went 20-10 with a 3.22 ERA, winning his 20th on the final day of the season. In matching the second-closest vote in the history of the AL Cy Young, he received 16 first-place votes, nine seconds and three thirds for 110 points.

Pettitte, 21-8 with a 3.87 ERA, drew 11 firsts, 16 seconds and one third for 104 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Hentgen, who turns 28 Wednesday, led the majors in complete games (10) and innings (265). He was second in ERA in the AL, behind teammate Juan Guzman (2.93). Hentgen pitched three shutouts, tying Rich Robertson of Minnesota, Texas' Ken Hill and Kevin Brown of Florida for the major-league lead.

"When the season ended and I was talking to my wife, I told her Pat deserved it," Pettitte said. "He was totally dominating. I didn't go out and dominate games. Of course, I didn't get complete games with the setup we had."

Yankees setup man Mariano Rivera earned the other first-place vote and finished third with 18 points.

The closest vote came in 1969, when Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain tied. In 1972, Gaylord Perry beat Wilbur Wood 64-58.

Hentgen, who became the first to win the award for a Canadian team, was 8-6 with a 3.86 ERA before the All-Star game, 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA after the break.

"Things just snowballed for me in the second half," Hentgen said. "There was just a point where I knew I could go out and pitch a good game."

He got his 20th win when he led Toronto over Baltimore 4-1 at SkyDome. He had a chance to win his 20th against Baltimore on the final weekend three years ago, but Toronto lost to Rick Sutcliffe 8-4.

"I think when I look back at '93 in Camden Yards, going for my 20th win, I was a little nervous," Hentgen said.

Pettitte, 24, led the AL in victories and went 13-3 after Yankees losses. He pitched for many months despite a sore throwing arm.

"I didn't even think I'd make it through the season if you asked me in the middle of the season, when my elbow was killing me," he said.

Charles Nagy of Cleveland was fourth with 12 points, followed by Mike Mussina of Baltimore with five. Alex Fernandez and Roberto Hernandez of the White Sox were tied for sixth with one point along with Hill.

Hentgen, who made $2.25-million, gets a $50,000 bonus for winning the award.