Angels storm back from 5-0 deficit to force Game 7Posted: Saturday October 26, 2002 10:36 PM
Updated: Sunday October 27, 2002 4:39 AM
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Hard to believe a little ol' monkey could have done all this.
The Anaheim Angels were trailing by five runs in the seventh inning and the victory platform was all set up in the Giants' clubhouse, ready for speeches and crazy champagne showers.
Then the Rally Monkey started jumping around the scoreboard, and what followed was the greatest World Series comeback ever by a team facing elimination.
Troy Glaus lined a two-run double after a key misplay by Barry Bonds in the eighth, capping a crazy rally that lifted the Angels over San Francisco 6-5 Saturday night and sending the Series to Game 7.
"I knew this team -- all it needs is a little spark," Scott Spiezio said after his three-run homer got things going. "To have the fans behind you, they never gave up. If it takes the Rally Monkey to get them going a little bit more, we love it."
After he homered again, Bonds had it right in his hands -- the ball, the game, the championship.
But then it all slipped away as he bobbled Garret Anderson's single near the left field line and fell. With the chimp going ape, Glaus' go-ahead hit off Robb Nen capped the Angels' surge from a 5-0 deficit.
"That thing was showing again, wasn't it?" Giants outfielder Tom Goodwin said. "It's crazy, but whatever works for them. I mean, who knows if they believe in it, or whatever? But the fans surely get riled up."
Spiezio's homer in the seventh made it 5-3 and Darin Erstad's leadoff shot started the rally in the eighth.
"There's no room for fear here, or else you're going to go home," Spiezio said. "We battle until the last out of the game. Until they kick us out of the park and say you've got to go home, we're not giving up."
Give credit to that Rally Monkey, too. Because once the pesky primate showed up, the Angels and the sellout crowd of 44,506 would not be denied.
"This is, without a doubt, his biggest moment," said Angels entertainment manager Peter Bull, who operates video of the mascot. "The success of the monkey is nothing without the players and their ability to come back."
The whole thing left many believing the monkey has mystical powers. And it wasn't surprising -- look at what the underdog Angels did to the New York Yankees and Minnesota in the playoffs.
Never before had a team trailing by five runs and facing Series elimination come back to win. Clubs had come back from four runs, but nothing like this.
Now, Bonds gets one final chance at the only prize that has eluded him. A bad omen for him -- of the last seven Game 7s in the Series, the home team has won every time.
"There was confidence, definitely," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "But the game was not over. That was a heck of a comeback by them."
On Sunday night, in a fitting wrapup to baseball's first all wild-card World Series, either San Francisco or Anaheim will win its first title. It'll be Livan Hernandez starting for the Giants against rookie John Lackey.
Ramon Ortiz had been scheduled to start for the Angels, but the tendinitis in his right wrist made them leery.
"It's pretty cool," Lackey said. "I'm excited. I'm going to go as hard as I can and as long as I can and see what happens."
Reliever Brendan Donnelly was the Game 6 winner and Troy Percival pitched the ninth for his second save of the Series.
Tim Worrell took the loss. For Nen, it was a familiar sight -- the Rally Monkey made its debut at Anaheim on June 6, 2000, and on that day, the Angels rallied to beat the Giants reliever in the bottom of the ninth.
Unstoppable at the plate, Bonds hit his fourth home run of the Series, a solo shot in the sixth off Francisco Rodriguez that made it 4-0. When Kenny Lofton scored in the seventh, the World Series trophy was clearly in the Giants' grasp behind the shutout pitching of Russ Ortiz.
But the resilient Angels and their fans never gave up, never left the building -- though they also play in Southern California, this isn't a Dodgers crowd.
The monkey started hopping in the sixth and by the seventh, the Giants had pulled Ortiz. Spiezio greeted reliever Felix Rodriguez with his homer, and the momentum had turned.
Erstad's homer was the fourth of the game and 21st of the Series, setting a record. The drive also set the Angels' main man, their monkey, into hysterics.
Tim Salmon followed with a single and was replaced by pinch-runner deluxe Chone Figgins. Anderson looped a single down the left-field line and Figgins, running all the way, sped to third.
But when Bonds bobbled the ball and dropped it -- he's past his prime as a Gold Glove -- Anderson took second. Baker opted for his relief ace, yet Nen could not stop the rising storm as Glaus doubled to the gap in deep left-center.
Bonds also dropped that ball as he tried to pick it up. Glaus did not advance, but he didn't need to because the damage already was done.
Shawon Dunston curled a drive over the low fence in the left-field corner for a two-run homer that broke a scoreless tie in the fifth.
Angels starter Kevin Appier had allowed one hit until David Bell's infield single with one out. Dunston, whose only homer this season came on April 15, followed to make it 2-0.
Appier stood with his hands on his hips as Dunston circled the bases. Shawon Dunston Jr. began clapping as he ran out to retrieve the bat and it was a sweet scene at home plate as the much-traveled veteran kissed his 9-year-old son.
Dunston, 39, made it to the majors a year before Bonds, and also had never been to the Series.
Lofton followed with a double and that was all for Appier. Lofton then stole third and scored as Francisco Rodriguez bounced a slider for a two-out wild pitch.
Lofton singled in the seventh, stole another base and scored on Jeff Kent's single for the 5-0 lead.
Notes: Expecting another intentional walk, Angels infielders stayed in place when Bonds came up with two outs and a runner on first in the seventh. When Rodriguez got ready to challenge him, several Angels scrambled into their overshifted alignment. ... Spiezio's home run made him 11-for-15 in the postseason with runners in scoring position.