By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
OCT. 19, 2002
WORLD SERIES GAME 2
GIANTS AT ANGELS
ANAHEIM -- It was the kind of game that is common at the schoolyard, or under streetlights in a quiet residential neighborhood. The only difference was that the baseballs that were hit didn't break car windows.
The Angels and San Francisco Giants combined for 28 hits in Game 2 of the World Series, including a 485-foot missile by the Giants' Barry Bonds. But no hit was bigger than Tim Salmon's two-run homer off Felix Rodriguez in the bottom of the eighth. Salmon's second homer of the game broke a 9-9 tie and lifted the Angels to an 11-10 victory before 44,584 at Edison Field, tying the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
It was a game where it seemed no lead was safe, and in fact, none was. The Angels led 5-0 after the first inning, but trailed, 9-7, going into the bottom of the fifth. The Angels rallied to tie the game before the start of the eighth inning.
With one out in the eighth, David Eckstein singled. Darin Erstad fouled off numerous pitches before flying out to left for the second out, bringing up Salmon.
``When Ersty was battling, I really felt like there was a chance he was going to get on base, either a walk or something,'' Salmon said. ``I was thinking I was going to have a guy in scoring position and I had to get ready for that. But when he made the out, with a guy on first, it changed my thinking. If anything, maybe it helped me relax. I don't hit home runs when I go up there trying to hit them.''
Salmon hit two homers Sunday, singled twice and walked once. Though Salmon will be recognized as the hero in Game 2, it would not have been possible without reliever Frankie Rodriguez, who stopped the Giants offense dead in its tracks.
The Giants had nine runs and 11 hits through five innings, but Rodriguez entered to start the sixth and retired all nine batters he faced, giving the Angels offense a chance.
Rodriguez needed only 26 pitches to get through the three innings, striking out four along the way and improving to 5-0 in the postseason.
``That was incredible,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``For him to step up, give us three innings and do it under 30 pitches was incredible. That was the game right there.''
Well, not quite.
Holding an 11-9 lead going into the ninth, Troy Percival got the final three outs for the save, though he gave up the mammoth home run to Barry Bonds on a 97-mph fastball with two outs.
A key for Percival was retiring Rich Aurilia and Jeff Kent for the first two outs of the inning, so Bonds was not in position to tie the game with a homer.
``I threw my first pitch as hard as I could right down the middle,'' Percival said. ``I think I supplied all the power there. That's what I'm going with, anyway. I told myself if I get the first two guys it doesn't matter how far he hits it. Then I'd get the next guy (Benito Santiago). I didn't want to start a rally with a walk.''
Said Salmon: ``That was the farthest ball I've ever seen hit in this ballpark. Man, he's awesome.''
The game could not have started any better for the Angels, as starting pitcher Kevin Appier retired the side in order in the top of the first before the Angels offense knocked around Giants starter Russ Ortiz in the bottom of the first.
The first four Angel batters had hits, including an RBI double by Erstad and an RBI single by Garret Anderson for a 2-0 lead. One out later, Brad Fullmer and Scott Spiezio each had an RBI single to make it 4-0. And when Fullmer stole home on the back end of a double steal, the Angels had a 5-0 lead.
Any comfort the Angels might have had quickly disappeared in the top of the second when the Giants rallied for four runs. The big blow was Reggie Sanders' three-run homer, which was followed by a solo homer from David Bell.
Ortiz didn't make it out of the second inning for the Giants, giving up a two-run homer to Salmon that increased the Angels lead to 7-4. Ortiz, who went into the game 2-0 in three postseason starts, gave up seven runs and nine hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Appier, though, wasn't much better. In the third, Appier gave up a solo homer to Jeff Kent, walked Bonds and was through for the night, having allowed five runs and five hits in two-plus innings.
John Lackey replaced Appier and restored order, holding that 7-5 lead until the fifth when the Giants sent nine batters to the plate. J.T. Snow's bases-loaded single off Ben Weber drove in two to tie the game at 7.
The Giants took their first lead of the game when Bell drove in Santiago with an infield single, and increased the lead to 9-7 on Shawon Dunston's RBI single.
The Angels got even with single runs in the fifith and sixth innings, Spiezio driving in one with a sacrifice fly and Anderson knocking home the other with a single.
``Tonight wasn't a good night to be a pitcher,'' Scioscia said.
ANAHEIM -- When Anaheim Stadium was renovated and became Edison Field in 1998, a synthetic, rubberized warning track was installed behind home plate in each direction to the ends of both dugouts.
The reasoning was that there would be no dust and dirt from a traditional warning track to bother the fans seated in the dugout suites behind homeplate. But it also can be dangerous for players, evidenced by the slip and fall of Giants first baseman J.T. Snow in Game 1.
Snow managed to get up and make the play but wasn't happy about what happened.
``That's dangerous, whatever they call that stuff,'' Snow said. ``I'm surprised that nobody caught that or saw that because I would hate for somebody to get hurt and miss a chance at playing in the World Series. I don't think that's up to Major League standards, that tarp or that turf or whatever you call it.''
The Angels don't care for it either, but they play on it all season so they know to tread carefully on it.
``I don't like it,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ``I just don't like synthetic surfaces anywhere on a basebal field.''
First basemen, third basemen and catchers are the ones who must deal with it the most.
``The track is a little slick if you wear plastic spikes, which I do as well,'' Angels third baseman Troy Glaus said. ``But it's happened a couple times. If you got metal spikes on, it's not a big deal. For the guys who wear plastics, you just have to kind of be careful when you go over there.''
Head groundskeeper Barney Lopas said after the season he will meet with the front office to consider tearing out the rubber track and replacing it with the tradtional dirt track.
When Kevin Appier exited the game after only two-plus innings, the Angels went to John Lackey, who was slated to start Game 4 Wednesday in San Francisco.
Lackey, who pitched 2 1/3 innings and made only 32 pitches, said he is still the scheduled starter for Game 4.
``I asked (Angels manager Mike Scioscia) for the ball, and I got it,'' Lackey said.
Glaus hasn't exactly been a media darling in his short major league career, often abrupt even when asked about his successes. But the media crush during the World Series is unavoidable, and Glaus seems to be handling it.
``The experience will help him a bit,'' Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. ``The toughest thing for young guys is when you fail and have to answer questions that aren't positive. You don't want to be emotional. This experience will help him in many ways.''
On the field, Glaus is having no problems. Including Sunday's game, Glaus is hitting .349 (15 for 43) with six homers in the postseason.
``The good thing about Troy is he's being aggressive,'' Hatcher said. ``When he's not aggressive he gets in trouble. He's crushing mistakes now.''
Angels left fielder Garret Anderson is still bothered by a sore right hamstring that was injured on Sept. 14. It was evident in Game 1 when Anderson ran from first to third on Scott Spiezio's fourth-inning double.
There's always a risk of aggrevating the injury, but Anderson isn't about to rest it.
``He'll stay as aggressive as he can,'' Scioscia said.
With Tim Salmon's two home runs Sunday, the Angels set a record with 21 home runs in a single postseason, breaking the mark of 19 they shared with the 1995 Atlanta Braves. ... Angels DH Brad Fullmer stole home on the back end of a double steal in the first inning Sunday, marking the 14th steal of home in World Series history. The previous steal of home came when the Cardinals' Tim McCarver stole home in the 1964 World Series. ... The Angels' five runs were the most in the first inning of a World Series since the Baltimore Orioles scored five in Game 1 in 1979 vs. Pittsburgh. ... Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett, a South Bay native, caught a foul ball hit by Brad Fullmer in the bottom of the seventh inning. ... Lakers players Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Tracy Murray and Samaki Walker attended Sunday's game. Bryant wore a Rally Monkey around his neck.