By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
OCT. 8, 2002
ALCS GAME 1
ANGELS AT TWINS
MINNEAPOLIS -- Roger Clemens couldn't do it. Neither could Andy Pettitte. Ditto for Mike Mussina and David Wells.
While the Angels hitters demolished New York Yankees pitching in the Division Series, they found Minnesota Twins starter Joe Mays not nearly as accommodating. Mays did what none of the Yankees could, shutting down an Angels offense as the Twins took Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, 2-1, before 55,562 at the Metrodome.
``It doesn't matter what the names are, it matters where you throw the ball,'' said Angels first baseman Scott Spiezio, one of five Angels starters to go hitless. ``He didn't give us pitches to hit. There was very little in the zone where you could be aggressive. It seems like we took the same approach up there, but you can only do what the pitcher gives you.''
Mays gave up only one unearned run and four hits in eight innings, retiring the final 13 batters he faced and handing the ball over to closer Eddie Guardado, who pitched the ninth and earned the save.
``The guy threw a great game,'' said Angels right fielder Tim Salmon, who went 0 for 3. ``He threw the ball where he wanted to throw it, he got ahead (in the count) and he got into a rhythm. We were never in position to get anything going.
``It was more the type of game you expect to see in the playoffs, where you see the pitchers take it up a notch. And today he did.''
All four Angels hits were singles, and none came after the fourth inning. They scored their only run on an error after Adam Kennedy and David Eckstein had singled with two outs in the third inning.
Darin Erstad followed with a routine grounder to shortstop Cristian Guzman, who let the ball go through his legs and into shallow left field, allowing Kennedy to score and moving Eckstein to third. But Salmon flied out for the final out of the inning and the Angels didn't get a baserunner into scoring position the rest of the night.
Asked what Mays had working for him, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said: ``It would take less time if I tell you what wasn't working. He had everything. He had his changeup, he had his great fastball moving in and out. His curveball, he had his slider. He had the strikezone, in and out.''
And just like that, an Angels offense that pounded out 56 hits in four games against the Yankees were stopped cold.
``We faced a guy that got on a roll, was making his pitches and was feeling good about his game,'' Salmon said. ``It was just like the other day when we got all those hits ... we got on a roll and you couldn't stop it.''
Mays pitched in Game 2 of the Division Series against the A's last week and got hammered for six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
``In Oakland I just left the ball up,'' Mays said. ``I wasn't able to get my breaking ball down. Tonight, I attacked the strikezone and I was able to keep the ball down. I was able to throw the breaking ball over whenever I needed to. It just gives them a different look.''
Angels starter Kevin Appier allowed only two runs but he lasted just five innings. He got outs when he needed them and stayed out of the big inning, but couldn't pitch as deep into the game as he would have liked.
``I thought I threw the ball pretty well to get out of jams,'' Appier said. ``Unfortunately, they scored enough to beat us.''
Torii Hunter led off the Twins' second inning with a double and turned it into a run. He went to third on a wild pitch and scored on A.J. Pierzynski's sacrifice fly.
The Angels tied it in the third on Guzman's error, but the Twins went ahead for good in the fifth inning.
Appier walked No. 9 hitter Luis Rivas to begin the inning. One out later, Guzman singled to move Rivas to second, and Corey Koskie doubled Rivas home.
Appier was able to escape cheaply enough, stranding runners at second and third by getting David Ortiz on a foul popup to first and Hunter on a strikeout.
Appier seems to have run out of gas late in the season. He hasn't won a game since Sept. 4, spanning six starts, including two in the playoffs. In those six starts, he is 0-4 with a 5.46 ERA.
Despite all the hype, the Angels said they weren't affected by the noise in the Metrodome.
``I've heard it louder,'' Erstad said. ``I was here for a Packers/Vikings game. I was much louder.''
MINNEAPOLIS -- Angels pitcher Ramon Ortiz sat in front of the assembled media in the interview room at the Metrodome Tuesday afternoon and acted like he'd been captured by enemy forces.
Ortiz was asked if he was too excited for his start in the Division series vs. the Yankees last week.
Ortiz: ``I don't know nothing, I pitch the game.''
Ortiz was asked if he learned anything from that game.
Ortiz: ``I don't know, you know. Sometimes you have a game like that. I pitch my game.''
Ortiz was asked what concerns him about the Twins lineup.
Ortiz: ``Nothing, you know. I have to make my pitch. I have to throw my pitch. Make the pitch.''
Ortiz will get the ball for Game 2 in the American League Championship Series, and the Angels are hoping to get a different Ortiz, one who isn't overwhelmed by the circumstances.
He gave up six runs in only 2 2/3 innings to the Yankees in Game 3 of the Division Series, which manager Mike Scioscia said had to do with Ortiz being too ``pumped up.'' It also didn't help that Ortiz had eight days of rest between starts.
``Ramon's a guy that if he's too strong or has too much adrenaline it works against him,'' Scioscia said. ``He's a power pitcher with a power arm and he relies a lot on regular work. Hopefully with the experience of the Yankee game he learned to make adjustments.''
The Twins starter in Game 2 is Rick Reed, who is the opposite of Ortiz. Reed, 37, doesn't throw hard but relies on command and smarts. He held the Angels to one run and three hits in nine innings of a 5-1 victory on May 24.
``Rick's always been tough on us,'' Scioscia said. ``He's a pitcher who has an incredible feel out thee on the mound.''
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig attended Game 1 of the ALCS Tuesday but remained incognito. He watched the game from a private box, instead of a box seat near the field. There was no announcement to the Metrodome crowd that Selig, who targeted the Twins for contraction last winter, was in attendance.
``Bud was just doing what baseball thought was the right thing to do,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``A lot of things that were said during the winter came out and hurt a lot of people here. But I know Bud knows this is a great baseball city.''
A fan ran across the outfield in the eighth inning Tuesday when Adam Kennedy was batting for the Angels. The fan had already reached left-center field by the time Kennedy hit a groundball to shortstop.
After Kennedy was thrown out at first, security eventually caught the fan. Scioscia, though, briefly discussed the situation with the umpires, claiming time should have been called.
``He started to run out and I saw one of the umpires down the line put his arm up, as the windup was being made,'' Scioscia said. ``I didn't think the pitch was delivered. I glanced up, and saw somebody's arm go up which would indicate `time.' ''
The Angels had hoped Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan would throw out the ceremonial first pitch for either Game 3 or Game 4 at Edison Field later this week, but because of previous commitments Ryan had to decline.
However, if the Angels reach the World Series, Ryan is expected to throw out the first pitch, possibly for Game 1.
Twins pitcher Brad Radke started Game 5 of the Division Series vs. the A's, so he won't make his first start in the ALCS until Game 4 in Anaheim. Even though Radke is 11-4 with a 1.72 ERA vs. the Angels in his career, Gardenhire said he won't bring Radke back on three-days' rest if there is a Game 7.
Eric Milton, who is starting Game 3, would pitch a Game 7, meaning Radke will get only one start in the series.
``We feel comfortable with our pitching staff as is,'' Gardenhire said. ``When you stat screwing around with guys and the days in between starts, you start screwing around with their heads and get yourself in a lot of trouble.''
Throwing out the ceremonial first pitches before Game 1 Tuesday night were former Twins Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat.