Saturday, October 26, 2013

 
By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
 
OCT. 26, 2002
WORLD SERIES GAME 7
GIANTS AT ANGELS
 
ANAHEIM -- It used to be something that could only happen in a Disney movie, and even then it required some sort of divine intervention.
 
But fantasy gave way to reality on Sunday night when the real-life Angels beat the San Francisco Giants in the seventh game of the World Series, 4-1, capturing the first championship in the 42 years of the franchise.
 
An Edison Field crowd of 44,598 was on its feet when Angels closer Troy Percival got Kenny Lofton to fly out to center fielder Darin Erstad for the final out, setting off a wild celebration on the field that spilled over into the clubhouse.
 
Percival emerged from the pile of bodies near the mound in tears, and soonafter right fielder Tim Salmon held aloft a white cowboy hat that belonged to original Angels owner Gene Autry.
 
``I said we've got to have Mr. Autry on the field any way we can,'' Salmon said. ``I thought his hat would be the best way to symbolize that. I know he's up their pulling some strings for us.''
 
Angels third baseman Troy Glaus, who hit .385 (10 for 26) with three homers and eight RBIs, was named the series MVP. But the 2002 Angels were a team that relied on everybody throughout their magical season.
 
``You can look at our team and ask, are we the most talented team in baseball?'' Percival said. ``No. But we're the best team in baseball. It took more than 25 guys, it took 32, 33 guys, guys that played for us at one time or another during the season and contributed but weren't on the playoff roster.
 
``We played three incredibly tough teams in the Yankees, Twins and Giants. We beat all three of them and that makes us the best.''
 
However, it didn't come easy for them against the Giants, and that includes Game 7. While the first six games of the series featured so much offense, the Angels won the final game with pitching, using three pitchers that are rookies and began the season in the minors.
 
John Lackey gave up one run and four hits in five innings to become only the second rookie starting pitcher ever and the first in 93 years (Pittsburgh's Babe Adams in 1909) to earn a Game 7 victory.
 
Lackey gave up only a second-inning sacrifice fly to Reggie Sanders before turning it over to the bullpen, which seemed revitalized in the team's 178th game of the season. Brendan Donnelly, a 31-year-old rookie, pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings, running his World Series total to 7 2/3 scoreless innings.
 
Twenty-year-old rookie Frankie Rodriguez, who looked human in recent outings, struck out the side in the eighth inning, sandwiched around a walk to Barry Bonds.
And Percival, despite allowing the Giants to put two runners on base and bring the tying run to the plate, finished it off.
 
``We know Percival makes it interesting sometimes,'' Erstad said. ``I wanted that ball (final out) so bad. When I saw it hit I said `This is going to be the hardest catch I ever made. Be sure to use two hands.' ''
 
The big hit of the night came off the bat of Garret Anderson, who entered the game without an extra-base hit in the series. But his bases-clearing, three-run double off Giants starter Livan Hernandez snapped a 1-1 tie in the third inning.
 
Neither team scored again.
 
``You're heart is heavy, your stomach is empty,'' Giants manager Dusty Baker said. ``You know, your head and your brains feel full right now. It's a very difficult time. On the other hand, I'm happy for (Angels manager Mike Scioscia) and (pitching coach Bud Black) and (third base coach Ron) Roenicke, (first base coach) Alfredo (Griffin), the guys on the Angels over there.
``I just wish it was us.''
 
Many fans remained after the game to witness the celebration. One fan held a sign that updated the 1979 slogan of ``Yes We Can,'' to ``Yes We Did.'' Even the even-tempered Scioscia seemed to get choked up in the moment.
 
``I've been in the game for a long time,'' said Scioscia, in his third season with the Angels. ``And I've never been around a group of guys so passionate about the game.''
 
Predictably, the Angels had to come from behind in Game 7. The Giants struck first, getting singles by Benito Santiago and J.T. Snow and a sacrifice fly by Sanders for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. But the Angels responded in their half of the second.
 
With two outs, Scott Spiezio walked and scored from first on Bengie Molina's double to the left-center field gap. In the third inning, the Angels took the lead for good.
 
David Eckstein and Erstad began the inning with consecutive singles and Salmon was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Anderson. Anderson went into the game with eight hits in the series -- all singles. But he ripped a 1-1 pitch into the right-field corner for a three-run double to give the Angels a 4-1 lead.
 
Meanwhile, Lackey worked his way through five innings almost flawlessly. He gave up a couple of one-out singles in the fourth, but retired Snow and Sanders to get out of it. In the fifth, Lackey got help from Erstad, who made a diving catch on a liner hit to left-center by David Bell.
 
After five innings, Lackey had made 86 pitches, and considering he was pitching on three days' rest and had already pitched more innings this season than any in his life, he handed the ball over to the bullpen.
 
``I got the opportunity,'' Lackey said. ``If you step up when you get the opportunity, you can be somebody in this game.''
 
NOTEBOOK
 
ANAHEIM -- Angels general manager Bill Stoneman was hired by the club in November of 1999 with the reputation of a penny-pinching accountant, brought on by his tenure as the financial wizard while with the Montreal Expos and his time spent working for Royal Trust, a financial institution in Canada.
 
But Stoneman's talents go beyond the numbers game, Scioscia said.
 
``Bill pitched in the major leagues for a long time,'' Scioscia said, noting Stoneman's eight-year career that included two no-hitters. ``Although his expertise was thought to be, `He's going to come in here and run the financial end of it, do that part,' evaluating talent is critical to a general manager.
 
``He has that talent. He knows how to put a team together. He shown in three years what he's accomplished here by not only keeping the core unit together, but filling in some peripheral players that have had a major part of us being in the World Series.''

The Angels have only two players -- reserve outfielders Alex Ochoa and Orlando Palmeiro -- eligible for free agency. Everyone else is either signed or under club control for next season.
*

Giants manager Dusty Baker agonized over his 25-man World Series roster, struggling to figure out who best to fill out his bench and be used as a designated hitter in the games played at Edison Field.
Baker finally settled on Tsuyoshi Shinjo, though Baker also used Tom Goodwin, Shawon Dunston and Pedro Feliz in the DH spot. The Angels used only one DH -- Brad Fullmer.
 
The Angels had an obvious edge, as Fullmer hit .286 (4 for 14) while in the DH spot, while the four Giants DHs batted .188 (3 for 16).

``Our lineup relies more on that bat in the middle of the lineup than San Francisco's,'' Scioscia said. ``San Francisco hit their DH ninth.''
 
*
 
Angels starting pitcher Kevin Appier was seen taking a swipe at the containers of bubblegum and sunflower seeds in the Angels dugout after being removed from Game 6 in the fifth inning Saturday night.
 
Normally, cleanup duty falls on one of the batboys or clubhouse attendants, but not this time. A clubhouse attendant said Appier cleaned up the gum and seeds himself.
 
*
 
Offense obviously dominated this World Series, so much so that this year's series was the first World Series ever that didn't have any starters from either team last at least seven innings. ... Angels center fielder Darin Erstad tied the record for most hits in a single postseason with 25, previously accomplished by Atlanta's Marquis Grissom in 1995. ... The Angels and Giants combined to score 85 runs, the most ever in any World Series. The previous mark was 82, held by the Yankees and Pirates in the 1960 World Series. ... The Angels and Giants combined for 21 home runs, breaking the previous mark of 17. ... The Giants scored 44 runs, tied for the third highest total in World Series history.
 
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