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Updated: Friday October 25, 2002 3:09 AM
  MLB RECAP
Anaheim Angels
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R H E
4 10 1
W Chad Zerbe
(1-0)
L Jarrod Washburn
(0-2)
San Francisco Giants
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R H E
16 16 0
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  Tim Worrell
  Jeff Kent

SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- If Jeff Kent played his final game at Pacific Bell Park for the San Francisco Giants, he went out with a bang.

Kent homered twice, including a timely two-run blast in the sixth inning, scored four times and drove in four runs as the Giants posted a pivotal 16-4 triumph over the Anaheim Angels in Game Five of the World Series.

With the best-of-seven series tied at two games apiece and Games Six and Seven in Anaheim, the Giants wasted little time jumping on Angels ace Jarrod Washburn (0-2), scoring six times over the first two innings. But Anaheim's vaunted offense got it in gear and the Angels were within 6-4 and carrying all the momentum in the sixth.

Anaheim reliever Ben Weber struck out Tsuyoshi Shinjo to open the bottom of the inning and when Kenny Lofton bounced to second base, 11 straight Giants had been set down in order. But Rich Aurilia, who has been hitting the ball hard the last two games, singled off the glove of third baseman Troy Glaus. Kent fouled off Weber's next offering and completely altered the momentum with a blast just over the left-center field fence.

A free agent following the World Series and one of the most outspoken Giants, Kent's return to San Francisco for the 2003 season is far from a given. He has feuded with superstar Barry Bonds and has not helped himself with an awful postseason. But with one swing of the bat, Kent got the crowd back in the game and gave the Giants' bullpen some room for error.

As Kent hit first base, he let out a rare smile and pumped his fist.

"I'll have to admit I don't usually show much emotion on the field," Kent said. "That's probably the first time I've ever smiled like that on a home run. But I figured, that late in the game, that play gave our bullpen enough to work with. That play was the capper."

Lofton, who continued his torrid stretch with three hits, delivered a two-run triple in the seventh that turned the game into a rout and Kent made it 12-4 with a two-run shot to left later in the inning. Kent was just 3-for-16 in the series prior to the game.

"Jeff's homers put a whole lot more juice into us, he changed everything with that first big swing of the bat," Giants right fielder Reggie Sanders said.

"Jeff was big, really big," Giants first baseman J.T. Snow said. "We needed his lift tonight."

Following Kent's second home run, he was given a rousing ovation by the San Francisco fans, who have had a love-hate relationship with the All-Star second baseman and former MVP.

"You can't be successful in this game in every at-bat or play in the field," Kent said. "But if you're not, somebody on this team will pick up. Guys have been picking me up all postseason and tonight it was my turn to help out. What I'm most proud of is how everyone on the team is coming up at some point."

Bonds continued his torrid hitting with a single, two doubles and another intentional walk. He has reached base in 16 of 22 plate appearances in the series and the mercurial superstar is within one win of the only thing to elude him in the game - a World Series title.

"I just look to hit the baseball," Bonds said. "I want to do my talking on the field. That's where it counts. That's where it matters."

After a day off on Friday, the series resumes Saturday at Edison International Field in Anaheim. The Giants will try to clinch their first World Series title since 1954 behind Russ Ortiz while the Angels, hoping to stave off elimination, counter with Kevin Appier.

"There was some sadness because this might have been my last game in San Francisco," Kent added. "But I'll tell you this, I'm really looking forward to going to Anaheim this weekend. The next two games are bigger than any I've ever played in. They're bigger than most all of us have played in."

"This team is awesome," Lofton said. "We've got guts, we've got heart, we've got fire. That's what it takes to win it all and we have to keep doing what we've been doing. ... If we get another win, then we'll celebrate. Not before. You can't win a seven-game series by winning three games."

As has been the case throughout the series, neither team got much from their starting pitcher. San Francisco's Jason Schmidt tossed four scoreless innings but could not get out of the fifth. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings while striking out eight.

"It was frustrating," Schmidt said. "I needed one more out and just couldn't execute. I got a little out of whack. The ball felt like a softball. I'd throw it up there and it would almost stop before it went the 60 feet. It was like I just couldn't get it there."

Chad Zerbe (1-0), who bailed Schmidt out of a fifth-inning jam and made a key defensive play in the sixth, notched the win. Felix Rodriguez got the final out of the sixth and Tim Worrell worked the seventh and eighth.

Scott Eyre pitched the ninth.

Washburn was awful, allowing six runs and six hits in four innings. He also walked five and saw his ERA in the series rise to 9.31.

"It was rough night. Nothing was working for me," Washburn said. "Once we got behind we couldn't make that climb back. I have no excuses about my performance. I'm tired, but everyone in baseball that's still playing is tired. I've felt tired for the last month. But again, I have to do my job and not make excuses. I just had bad combinations out there."

After Schmidt stranded two runners in the top of the first, the Giants broke on top with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Lofton drilled a single, and one out later, Washburn walked Kent after getting ahead 0-2. Bonds then drilled a double into the right field corner to score Lofton, and Benito Santiago lofted a sacrifice fly to left.

Washburn intentionally walked Reggie Sanders but issued back-to-back free passes to Snow and David Bell for a 3-0 lead.

Washburn threw just 10 of his first 31 pitches for strikes.

Schmidt struck out two of the three batters he faced in the second and the Giants kept pounding Washburn in their half of the inning. Lofton led off by ripping an 0-2 pitch for a base hit and, after a spectacular defensive play by center fielder Darin Erstad, Kent lined a double over the head of right fielder Tim Salmon.

With runners at second and third, Bonds was walked intentionally for the sixth time in the series and Santiago answered the challenge by lining Washburn's next offering into center field for a two-run single. Sanders made it 6-0 with a sacrifice fly.

The Angels began chipping away in the fifth, scoring three times, and added another run in the sixth.

© 2002 Sportsticker
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