By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
OCT. 2, 2002
ALDS GAME 2
ANGELS AT YANKEES
NEW YORK -- Mike Scioscia got his mulligan, Troy Percival got the ball and the Angels got their first postseason victory in 16 years.
One night after being criticized for not going to his closer in the eighth inning, the Angels manager summoned Percival in a strikingly similar situation Wednesday night. Percival wasn't pretty but the results were all the Angels cared about after coming away with an 8-6 victory over the New York Yankees before 56,695 at Yankee Stadium to even the best-of-five series at one game apiece.
The game featured plenty of offense by both teams, particularly from the Angels, who pounded out 17 hits, including home runs from Tim Salmon, Scott Spiezio, Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus. Anderson, Spiezio and Shawn Wooten each had three hits for the Angels.
``We're still in this,'' Scioscia said. ``This gives us a little momentum now going back home but we've got a big challenge ahead of us.''
The Yankees got homers from Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano, Soriano's turning a 4-3 Angels lead into a 5-4 Yankees lead in the sixth inning. With the Angels staring at a 0-2 deficit in the series, lightning struck -- twice -- in the eighth inning.
Anderson and Glaus began the inning with back-to-back homers off Orlando Hernandez to take a 6-5 lead. The Angels added another run in the eighth to go up, 7-5, but it was far from safe as the Yankees put another scare into the Angels in the bottom of the eighth.
After Nick Johnson singled with one out, Raul Mondesi hit a chopper up the middle that pitcher Ben Weber tried to grab with his bare hand. Mondesi was safe with an infield single and Weber had to leave the game with a sprained index finger on his right hand.
Scioscia summoned Brendan Donnelly, who gave up Tuesday's game-deciding, three-run homer to Bernie Williams. But against John Vander wal, Donnelly struck him out looking.
``I hope Weber's OK, but I'm just glad I got the chance to get back in a game,'' Donnelly said. ``I tried to do the opposite of what I did (Tuesday) night. Both guys (Williams and Vander Wal) are left-handers and both were trying to hit the ball out. So I did the opposite and got the opposite result.''
With two outs, Scioscia brought in Percival, though Scioscia said it had nothing to do with what happened Tuesday.
``I thought the elements were right to use Percy,'' he said. ``(Tuesday) night pointed us in a different direction.''
Percival, though, didn't get the job done without creating some angst in the Angels dugout. On his first pitch, he hit Soriano in the back to load the bases. Percival said it had nothing to do with being too amped up.
``(Catcher Bengie Molina) called for a fastball away, but I said no,'' Percival said. ``I've seen him reach out over the plate and hit the ball. You let him do that, he's going to hurt you. So I came in on him and it got away from me, about seven, eight inches ... or two feet.''
Up next was Jeter, who was 5 for 6 with two homers and two walks in the series going into that at-bat.
Percival got ahead in the count 1-2, then struck him out looking at a fastball that appeared to be a little off the outside corner.
Percival struggled in the 10th, giving up a run and three hits, but he got Mondesi to pop out with the tying runs on base to end it.
``You expect every game to be close going into the eighth inning,'' Percival said eighth-inning appearance. ``They're all going to be like that and Scioscia didn't want to burn me out.''
Hernandez relieved ineffective Yankees starter Andy Pettitte and immediately shut down the Angels offense in the middle innings. The Angels had four runs and eight hits off Pettitte in three innings before Hernandez came in and retired the first 11 batters he faced.
Hernandez held the Angels to just Darin Erstad's infield single in his four innings going into the eighth when Anderson and Glaus went back-to-back, setting up the wild finish.
``You get to the point where you're almost hyper-ventilating,'' Salmon said. ``That's just the way these games are.''
The Angels scored in each of the first three innings to take a 4-0 lead before the Yankees rallied against Angels starter Kevin Appier. Appier lasted only five innings, but was hit with a bit of bad luck in the third inning when the Yankees scored two runs thanks to two bloop hits and a walk.
Appier gave up three runs and five hits in all and handed the ball and a 4-3 lead to the bullpen to start the sixth. Frankie Rodriguez replaced Appier in the sixth and gave up the two-run homer to Soriano that put the Yankees up, 5-4. He could have got out of the inning if not for second Benji Gil's throwing error on a routine double play ball.
NEW YORK -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia was vilified in Wednesday's editions of the New York newspapers for not going to closer Troy Percival with two outs and two on while clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth inning of Game 1 on Tuesday night. And he was peppered with questions again before Wednesday's game.
But Scioscia remained steadfast in his belief he did the right thing in going to Scott Schoeneweis and then Brendan Donnelly, despite watching a 5-4 lead turn into an 8-5 loss. He even made light of it when he opened Wednesday's pregame press conference.
``Before we get started, who would have brought Percival in (Tuesday) night?,'' Scioscia asked. ``Give me a show of hands. Everybody's hands have got to go up.''
Scioscia said bringing in Percival was a consideration, but decided against it and isn't apologizing for it.
``I spent eight hours last night tossing and turning and I came to the conclusion I would have done the same thing,'' he said. ``We put enough thought into it before to know we got the matchups we were comfortable with. The bottom line is we're not a one-man bullpen, it's not what got us here and it's not what's going to get us through this.''
Scioscia brought in the lefty Schoeneweis to face the left-handed hitting Jason Giambi, who tied the game with an RBI single. Then he brought in Donnelly, who gave up a three-run homer to Bernie Williams. Percival was ready and waiting, never to get the call, but he wouldn't second-guess his manager.
``I pitch when they ask me to pitch,'' said Percival, who pitched in the eighth inning four times this season. ``I have no opinion on it. That's the way we've played it all year.''
No other Angel would go on the record to criticize the move either.
``I never question Scioscia,'' center fielder Darin Erstad said. ``It's his job and he's done a good job.''
There are managerial openings with five teams and possibly more to come. Angels pitching coach Bud Black is regarded as managerial material and has been mentioned as a candidate in Cleveland, where the Indians have not yet decided what to do with interim manager Joel Skinner.
Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said he has appreciated Black's work the past three seasons but wouldn't prevent him from talking to other teams about a manager's post. However, Black said he isn't sure he's ready now.
``Maybe sometime in my career, but I'm not sure the timing's right,'' he said. ``I enjoy being a pitching coach, I enjoy living in San Diego (Rancho Santa Fe) and staying in my house during the season (when the team's at home). I enjoy spring in Arizona because it's close to home. I like the Angels organization, I like the staff and the players.''
Yankees right fielder Raul Mondesi said he is ``almost 100 percent'' certain he's going to retire after the 2003 season when his contract expires.
``I think so, I think that's what I'm going to do,'' said Mondesi, 31. ``I think I need to spend more time to be with my family. After next year it would be 11 years in the big leagues. That would probably be enough.''
Mondesi has three children, ages 10, 6 and 4, and lives in the Dominican Republic. Next season he'll make $13 million.
Yankees fans seem to have little respect for anything about the Angels. They see the Angels as just another team in a long line of playoff pansies.
One fan at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night was quoted in the New York Daily News: ``It's like when you're watching Batman, and Riddler is on every episode. But then, you turn the show on, and suddenly you get King Tut. The Angels are King Tut. It's kind of fun, just because it's different.''
The Angels and Yankees won't play Oct. 3 but will work out at Edison Field, the Angels at 1:30 and the Yankees at 4:30. The workouts are closed to the public. ... Former Yankees pitcher Goose Gossage threw out the ceremonial first pitch.