Angels pull even as Salmon smokes Giants in epic slugfestPosted: Monday October 21, 2002 12:13 AM
Updated: Monday October 21, 2002 10:36 AM
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Tim Salmon gushed about the home run -- not his, the one by Barry Bonds.
"That was the farthest ball I've ever seen hit in this ballpark, for sure," he said.
Salmon trumped that 485-foot shot with the drive that counted the most.
He connected for his second homer of the night, a tiebreaking, two-run shot with two outs in the eighth inning that lifted the Anaheim Angels over the San Francisco Giants 11-10 Sunday, knotting the World Series at one game each.
"We knew there was going to be a hero in the dugout," Salmon said, "and tonight it was me."
Francisco Rodriguez made a major contribution by throwing three perfect innings. The 20-year-old relief sensation became the youngest pitcher to win a Series game.
Credit this seesaw victory, though, to Salmon.
Until this year, no active player in the majors had gone longer than Salmon -- 1,388 games -- without reaching the postseason. But that wasn't a well-known fact because Bonds has been the center of attention, especially since this is his first Series, too.
But Salmon put the spotlight squarely on himself on this night by homering to give the Angels their first-ever World Series win.
"I think I made the most of my opportunities. It was awesome," Salmon said. "The way the game went back-and-forth was unbelievable."
Salmon went 4-for-4 with a walk, driving in four runs and scoring three. He capped his performance with a drive into the Anaheim bullpen in left field that left Bonds hanging over the top of the fence.
The homer off Felix Rodriguez capped the Angels' comeback from a 9-7 deficit. They had led 5-0 after the first inning before homers rallied the Giants.
Francisco Rodriguez made the longest outing of his big league career to improve to 5-0 in the postseason. He tied Randy Johnson's record for wins in a postseason set last year.
Rodriguez's locker in the Anaheim clubhouse is right next to Salmon, who made his major league debut with the California Angels in 1992.
"This is something he's never been in, either," Salmon said. "I tell these young guys, 'Just appreciate it. Make the most of it.'"
As Salmon circled the bases and fireworks exploded overhead after connecting on a 93 mph fastball, Felix Rodriguez angrily tugged on his cap.
Bonds homered for the second straight day, hitting a solo shot with two outs in the ninth off Angels closer Troy Percival. Salmon hung on the dugout railing and admired the shot that landed halfway up the bleachers in right field.
But the crowd of 44,584 roared as Percival finished it without further damage for a save.
"It was too much Salmon," Bonds said. "It's phenomenal. He did everything any player could do in one game except steal home."
Bonds did his share, reaching base four times, highlighted by the homer.
"I scripted it in the bullpen," Percival said. "You get the first two guys out, it doesn't matter how far he hits it. I think I supplied all the power. It was impressive. I was going to go right after him."
It was the highest-scoring game in the Series since Cleveland beat Florida 14-11 in 1997.
"You could tell it was going to be an offensive night," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "The ball was carrying.
"It was one of the best games I've ever been in," he said.
Pacific Bell Park will host the World Series for the first time in Game 3 Tuesday night. Livan Hernandez, 6-0 lifetime in the postseason, starts for the Giants against Ramon Ortiz.
Bonds, making his first Series appearance in his 17th major league season, went 1-for-2 with three walks. Like everyone else in the San Francisco lineup, he couldn't solve Rodriguez as he grounded out. The rookie pitcher struck out four, all on three pitches.
"I never got nervous," he said.
"He stepped up," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We don't get that game settled down, there's not a whole lot to come back from."
A day after both bullpes pitched 3 1/3 hitless innings, most of the relievers had a lot more trouble getting outs.
The Giants scored four times in the fifth off John Lackey and Ben Weber for a 9-7 lead. Game 1 star J.T. Snow hit a tying, two-run single, then hustled to avoid being forced to give David Bell a go-ahead infield hit with two outs. Shawon Dunston, playing in his first Series game at age 39, added a sharp RBI single.
At that point, the Giants and Anaheim already had outscored one NFL game played earlier in the day. Arizona beat the Dallas Cowboys 9-6 -- in overtime, no less.
Scott Spiezio's sacrifice fly off Chad Zerbe pulled the Angels within a run in the fifth.
The Rally Monkey made its first appearance on the scoreboard in the sixth. And for the second straight night, the Angels promptly scored, with Garret Anderson's single off Aaron Fultz making it 9-all.
The Angels started out doing everything right -- of their first 15 swings against Russ Ortiz, they did not miss once. In an inning symbolic of their whole season, they hit to the opposite field, aggressively streaked around the bases and even pulled a double steal that let Brad Fullmer sneak home.
David Eckstein's leadoff single started the hit parade. Darin Erstad followed with an RBI double and Salmon and Anderson added singles. After Troy Glaus hit a fly ball for the first out, Fullmer and Spiezio had RBI singles.
Anaheim clearly had the Giants on the run, and took advantage. When catcher Benito Santiago made a high throw trying to get Spiezio at second, Fullmer breezed to the plate with the Series' first steal of home since Tim McCarver did it for St. Louis in 1964.
In all, it was the biggest first inning in a Series game since Baltimore scored five against Pittsburgh in the 1979 opener.
Given a big lead, Kevin Appier began to give it right back. And even though home runs eventually cost him, it was a little walk that led to his undoing.
Working too carefully, Appier walked Bonds on a close 3-2 pitch to begin the second. Snow singled with one out and Reggie Sanders hit a three-run drive.
Bell followed with a shot to straightaway center, closing the Giants' gap to 5-4. It marked the 13th set of back-to-back homers in Series play, with Tony Gwynn and Greg Vaughn doing it most recently for San Diego in 1998.
By then, as the bullpen got busy, it was apparent the Angels could not count on the pitcher they fondly call "Ape." Instead, they would have to warm up the Rally Monkey, too.
Salmon's two-run homer gave the Angels 7-4 in the second, an inning that started with Eckstein's bunt single. Glaus long double chased Ortiz before he got another chance to face Fullmer, his one-time high school teammate.
Jeff Kent homered to lead off the Giants third, and Appier was pulled after a four-pitch walk to Bonds.
Notes: Sanders and Bonds became the first players to homer in Games 1 and 2 of the Series since Ted Simmons for Milwaukee in 1982. ... Rodriguez got the win at 20 years, 286 days old. The previous youngest was Joe Bush, who was 20 years, 315 days when he did won for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1913. ... Angels pitchers did not give up a home run in the five-game ALCS against Minnesota. ... Anaheim's 21 home runs set a postseason record. ... Among the big names in attendance: Hall of Famers George Brett (who caught a foul ball), Willie Mays and Ernie Banks; Kobe Bryant (holding a pair of ThunderStix) and five Lakers teammates; and actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ray Romano and Dennis Quaid.