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Special deliveries

Angels come through late after choking in opener

Posted: Monday October 21, 2002 3:37 AM
Updated: Monday October 21, 2002 4:27 AM
  Tim Salmon Tim Salmon had big hit after big hit in Game 2. Jeff Gross/Getty Images

By John Donovan, CNNSI.com

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Mickey Hatcher was telling everybody "I told you so" in the Anaheim Angels' clubhouse Sunday night. Tim Salmon said it with his bat.

The Angels, en masse, made their own statement in Game 2 of the World Series, and it was a familiar one:

Don't go away. We have plenty left before this thing's over.

The Angels beat the San Francisco Giants in a wild one Sunday 11-10, and they did it in typical Anaheim fashion which is to say nothing came easy. The Angels had a big early lead, they gave it up, then they scratched back until Salmon came through in the bottom of the eighth to give the Angels their first World Series victory in their 42-year history.

The win evened the best-of-seven series, sending it to Game 3 on Tuesday night in Pacific Bell Park. It was a critical win for the Angels and would not have been possible without the very thing they were missing Saturday in Game 1: a couple of huge clutch hits in the late innings.

The Angels came out firing with a five-run first inning. Even after the Giants pushed across four in the top of the second, the Angels added two more in the bottom half of the inning.

By the middle of the fifth, though, the Angels were trailing 9-7. Luckily for them, they had been there before.

"I've said it a million times this week," Salmon said, "but this team is just amazing."

The Angels scratched out a run in the bottom of the fifth on back-to-back singles from Troy Glaus and Brad Fullmer to start the inning. Glaus scooted to third when Fullmer's bloop to center was muffed by Giants center fielder Kenny Lofton. Scott Spiezio followed with a sacrifice fly that made the score 9-8.

Anaheim tied the score in truly clutch fashion in the bottom of the next inning when Darin Erstad doubled, Salmon drew a walk and Garret Anderson singled in Erstad -- all with two outs.

And then in the bottom of the eighth, the Angels did it again. Again with two outs, Salmon launched his two-run homer to left off Giants reliever Felix Rodriguez. That made the score 11-9, and the Angels withstood a ninth-inning Barry Bonds home run for the win.

Salmon, who had been just 3-for-18 (.167) since the American League Division Series win over the Yankees, was 4-for-4 Sunday with a pair of homers, four RBIs, three runs scored and two walks.

"Timmy's been swinging the bat real well," said Hatcher, Anaheim's hitting coach. "I knew he would break out of it. I didn't know it would all come in one day, though."

The Angels were 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position Sunday, a far cry from their Game 1 performance, when they were 1-for-8. The difference showed on the scoreboard. They smacked 16 hits in putting up the 11 runs and are now hitting .342 in the Series.

That, as the Giants well know, is a long way from going away.


 
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