Kent leads Giants to doorstep of baseball's ultimate prizePosted: Friday October 25, 2002 12:27 AM
Updated: Friday October 25, 2002 6:01 AM
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- He's got everything else.
The home run record, a batting title, MVP trophies, a sure spot in the Hall of Fame.
The only thing Barry Bonds still really wants is just one win away: a World Series championship.
Bonds put San Francisco on the brink, hitting an RBI double that sent the Giants zooming to a big lead that not even these pesky Anaheim Angels could overcome, winning 16-4 in Game 5 Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead.
"I won't feel anything until it's over," Bonds said. "It's been difficult to sleep ever since I've been in these playoffs. Playing every at-bat, every pitch in my head."
Slumping Jeff Kent sealed it with a pair of two-run homers, managing a rare smile in the process. That got the party going full force at Pac Bell Park and put the Giants on the brink of their first World Series title since Willie Mays & Co. won it for New York in 1954.
Rich Aurilia added the exclamation point, a three-run homer in the eighth that let the Giants tie for the second-highest run total ever in a Series game. The New York Yankees scored 18 in 1936 and had 16 in 1960.
Aurilia's drive set off a fog horn blast and shots from water cannons on top of the right-field wall beside the Bay. The Giants tied a Series record with their 12th home run, and the total of 17 by the teams matched another mark.
"Everybody did a great job, up and down our lineup," Giants manager Dusty Baker said.
And once again, it took only one big swing by Bonds -- Mays' godson -- to swing the momentum in this Series. But, really, the Angels were caught in a lose-lose squeeze from the start.
They pitched to Bonds in the first inning, and the Giants got three runs. They intentionally walked him in the second, and San Francisco scored three more.
Halloween was still a week away, but the big guy in orange and black had plenty of tricks and few treats for Anaheim.
"You look at the final score, and it was a whuppin' -- no doubt about that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Now, Russ Ortiz will try to clinch San Francisco's first crown when he starts Game 6 Saturday night at Edison Field against Kevin Appier. Both made early exits in Game 2, an 11-10 win by the Angels.
A sellout crowd of 42,713, tense when the Angels climbed back from a 6-0 deficit and brought the tying run to the plate in the middle innings, erupted when Kent connected in the sixth and again in the seventh.
Kent began the day in a 3-for-16 rut and wound up scoring four runs, tying a Series record. Often surly, he smiled as he rounded first base after his first homer.
"I have to admit that's probably the first time I've done that," he said.
Bonds added another double and a single and Kenny Lofton sprinkled in a two-run triple as the Giants scored four times in the seventh and four in the eighth to pull away to delirious chants of "Beat L.A! Beat L.A.!" The fans' geography may have been a bit off, but their math was right on.
Everyone got in on the act, too. Bat boy Darren Baker, the 3 1/2-year-old son of the Giants manager, got so excited while retrieving a bat that he nearly got run over at the plate in the seventh inning.
J.T. Snow scored and quickly scooped up Darren by his oversized Giants jacket to get him out of David Bell's way.
"You OK, buddy?" Snow asked. Darren nodded yes.
All in all, it was a dramatic turnaround in the Series. Just a few days ago, with Anaheim's hitters going wild, some thought they would run away with the title. But by the time this one ended, it was the Giants who had the Angels on the run.
Chad Zerbe got the win, relieving when Jason Schmidt was pulled in the fifth, one out short of qualifying for his second win of the Series. Schmidt struck out eight, yet Baker took no chances after Troy Glaus' RBI double made it 6-3.
Jarrod Washburn, who lost to Schmidt in the opener, absorbed another defeat.
At least Washburn gave the fans at the park -- and everywhere else, no doubt -- what they wanted to see.
After Bonds drew nine walks, five of them intentional, in the first four games, he at last got something to hit. And the Giants slugger did not miss.
"I felt good with Jarrod going after Barry, giving him the freedom to pitch to him," Scioscia said. "Obviously, he didn't want to give in to him."
Lofton led off the first with a single and Washburn made his first critical mistake, walking Kent on a full count with one out.
Up stepped Bonds and just like in Game 1, when he gave up a home run to the slugger, Washburn decided to pitch to him.
The count went to 2-1 and Washburn backed off the mound, taking a moment to compose himself as the crowd chanted, "Barry! Barry!" When Washburn took something off a fastball and left it out over the plate, Bonds lined an RBI double that rolled to the wall in right field, and the rout was on.
Bonds even let out a rare smile, and playfully whacked Angels shortstop David Eckstein on the backside.
"Yeah, I believe he's having fun," Baker said about the slugger before the game. "Hard not to have fun when you're hitting balls halfway to the moon."
Benito Santiago followed with a sacrifice fly and Scioscia played the percentages, intentionally walking Reggie Sanders. But Washburn couldn't take advantage of the lefty vs. lefty matchup and walked Snow to load the bases, prompting a visit from pitching coach Bud Black.
That didn't help as Washburn also walked Bell, the Game 4 star, to force home another run that made it 3-0.
San Francisco kept pouring it on in the second after another leadoff single by Lofton. Kent doubled off the right-field wall and the Angels took no chances with Bonds this time, throwing four wide ones while Giants fans razzed Washburn by waving rubber chickens.
Santiago spoiled the strategy with a two-run single. That made the MVP of the NL Championship Series 6-for-11 with nine RBIs in the postseason when he bats after an intentional walk to Bonds -- that includes the two double plays he bounced into with the bases loaded in Game 4.
Only then did the Angels start warming up someone in the bullpen, and as Scot Shields got loose, Sanders hit a sacrifice fly for a 6-0 lead.
Notes: It was the fourth time a team has scored at least 10 runs in this series, the second time that's happened in World Series history. The New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates did it in 1960. ... Washburn had a rough outing on his fourth wedding anniversary. He tied Series records with three straight walks and four in an inning.