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Updated: Sunday October 27, 2002 1:30 AM
  MLB RECAP
San Francisco Giants
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R H E
5 8 1
 
Anaheim Angels
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Stats: Batting |  Pitching
R H E
6 10 1
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  Russ Ortiz
  Scott Spiezio

ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Barry Bonds nearly had the monkey off his back. Then the "Rally Monkey" made an appearance.

The Anaheim Angels staged a near-miraculous comeback, erasing a five-run deficit over their final two at-bats to stun the San Francisco Giants, 6-5, and push the World Series to Game Seven.

A two-run double Troy Glaus snatched the elusive victory away from Bonds and the Giants. Earlier, Scott Spiezio and Darin Erstad had connected for homers to begin the comeback.

Facing elimination and trailing, 5-0, heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Angels trotted out their scoreboard mascot to fire up the crowd at Edison International Field. As it has all season, the team inexplicably responded, this time against Giants starter Russ Ortiz, who had pitched six scoreless innings.

Spiezio's three-run homer off San Francisco reliever Felix Rodriguez with one out in the seventh got the Angels within 5-3. Anaheim completed the rally against closer Robb Nen in the eighth.

Erstad opened the eighth with a liner to right field off setup man Tim Worrell (1-1) that got the Angels within a run. Tim Salmon singled and Garret Anderson followed with a bloop hit to left that Bonds misplayed, allowing pinch runner Chone Figgins to reach third and Anderson to take second.

Giants manager Dusty Baker went to Nen, but Glaus greeted the All-Star righthander with a line double into the left-center field gap that gave Anaheim the lead.

"I was looking for a ground ball, do something, try to score one run and tie the ballgame, give ourselves a little more life," Glaus said. "Fortunately, he left a slider up and I was able to get it over the outfielders."

"I'm sure he didn't want it in that location," Baker said. "He probably wanted it up and in and got it over the plate."

Glaus and Spiezio believe the "Rally Monkey" is a factor.

"I think it really gets the crowd going," Glaus said. "They just start making a bunch of noise. They get going. The fact that the crowd is making noise, yelling, screaming, makes everybody on the team excited. You just want to do it for them."

"The fans get behind you and give you the boost of adrenaline you need late in the game," Spiezio said. "Tonight, they never gave up and we never gave up. It would have been hard to do without them. If it takes the 'Rally Monkey' to get them going a bit more, we love it."

Angels closer Troy Percival pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save of the series.

"Tonight was pretty amazing," Spiezio added. "You don't want to dwell on it but it was so amazing that you have to sit back and say 'Wow, that was incredible."

"It was a great ballgame," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think when you have two teams that have such a passion to strive for something, as any two teams in the World Series would, we're both going after it hard. When you have two teams going at it like that, there's always a chance special things can happen."

As the Fall Classic goes the distance for the second straight year, the Giants send veteran righthander Livan Hernandez to the mound Sunday.

"We feel comfortable with Livan, but tomorrow we are going to go with everybody," Baker said. "One thing about this club, we always come back after tough losses. We've been doing it over and over. It just seems like it never comes easy and we never do it easy."

The Angels initially said they would go with righthander Ramon Ortiz, who is battling a sore right wrist. However, Scioscia said following the victory he is starting 24-year-old rookie John Lackey.

"We're going to go with Lackey," Scioscia said. "With Ramon Ortiz's wrist, I think we can use him tomorrow at some point but I don't know about length. We'd like John to start and try to get into some rhythm, give him a chance to pitch a little bit."

Bonds was just eight outs from the title that has eluded him for 17 years, the finishing touch on a Hall of Fame resume. He had hit a majestic home run in the sixth that staked the Giants to a 4-0 lead. As he circled the bases triumphantly, there was little doubt he had completely erased memories of past postseason failures.

Rookie phenom Francisco Rodriguez, who surrendered Bonds' homer, gave up another run in the seventh. Kenny Lofton singled with one out, stole second and took third when catcher Bengie Molina fired the ball into center field. Jeff Kent made it 5-0 with a two-out single up the middle.

Russ Ortiz, who was ripped in Game Two, retired Anderson to start the seventh. But Glaus and Brad Fullmer followed with base hits, and Baker removed his starter for Felix Rodriguez, who has appeared in each game of the series.

"We thought Russ had done his job," Baker said. "They started hitting him pretty good the inning before."

Spiezio fouled out several pitched before golfing a 3-2 pitch into the second row of the right field seats. It was Spiezio's third playoff homer, and the three RBI gave him 19, tying Sandy Alomar's 1997 postseason record.

"I knew he got a good portion of it," Scioscia said. "I didn't know if it was too high, but I thought it was going to be close."

"I was praying, saying, 'God, please just let it get over the fence,'" Spiezio said. "It seemed like it took forever."

Brendan Donnelly (1-0) worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth, striking out two.

Russ Ortiz allowed two runs and four singles in 6 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out two.

Angels starter Kevin Appier took a shutout into the fifth but tired and surrendered three runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Neither team generated any offense over the first four innings. San Francisco's David Bell beat out an infield hit with one out in the fifth and Shawon Dunston followed with his first career postseason homer.

Dunston, an 18-year veteran playing in his first Fall Classic, had just one hit in his first seven World Series at-bats

Lofton followed with a double off the wall in right-center field wall to finish Appier. Francisco Rodriguez came on, and Lofton stole third. He stayed there as Rich Aurilia bounced out but raced home as Rodriguez fired an 0-2 pitch past Molina, making it 3-0.

Bonds opened the sixth with his fourth home run of the series and record-setting eighth of the postseason.

© 2002 Sportsticker
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