- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 27, 2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. The World Series that no one seemed to care about just got a whole lot more interesting.
Down to the final nine outs of their season, the Anaheim Angels somehow and some way managed to rally from five runs down and pull off an astonishing 6-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game6 last night, sending a crowd of 44,506 at Edison Field into delirium and the World Series to a seventh game.
With their Rally Monkey doing somersaults on the stadium video board and their red-clad fans screaming, the Angels pulled off one of the most dramatic comebacks in Series history, snatching what seemed like sure victory away from Barry Bonds and his stunned teammates.
"I can go back to the Kirk Gibson game in '88," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who played for the Dodgers when they upset the A's in the World Series. "There was so much electricity in that stadium. I think tonight surpassed that."
Leading 5-0 in the game and 3-2 in the Series, the Giants were well on the way to wrapping up their first World Series title in 48 years when they took the field for the bottom of the seventh inning. Little did they, or anyone else, know how events would turn so suddenly.
"There was confidence, definitely, but we knew the game wasn't over," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "The game definitely wasn't over. They proved it."
It began innocently enough, with a couple of Anaheim singles off San Francisco starter Russ Ortiz, who turned in the quality start this Series so desperately needed. Baker, not wanting to fool around, turned to his bullpen right then and there, summoning right-hander Felix Rodriguez to face Scott Spiezio.
Spiezio, an unsung hero for the Angels during this postseason, made himself known to everyone this time. He belted Rodriguez's 3-2 pitch over the right-field fence for a three-run homer, igniting what had become a silent stadium.
Even then, the Giants still led 5-3 entering the eighth inning, a seemingly comfortable position with set-up man Tim Worrell taking the mound.
Comfortable? Not in the least.
Darin Erstad led off with a solo homer to right, and it was 5-4. Tim Salmon singled up the middle, Garret Anderson blooped a base hit down the left-field line, and when Bonds had trouble picking up the ball, the Angels had the tying run on third and the winning run on second with postseason hero Troy Glaus at the plate.
Enter Robb Nen, the Giants' closer, to put out the fire. Three pitches later, Glaus doubled over Bonds' head in left-center, both runners scored and the Angels were three outs away from victory.
Troy Percival, Anaheim's closer, had no trouble recording his three outs. He retired the side in the ninth, striking out Rich Aurilia to end the game, and the Angels have somehow lived to see another day.
There will be a Game7 tonight, the second straight year the World Series has gone the distance. Livan Hernandez will start for the Giants and rookie John Lackey for the Angels.
For 6 innings, there was no reason to believe another game would be necessary. Behind another titanic home run from Bonds, a surprising shot from Shawon Dunston and a solid pitching performance from Ortiz, the Giants were well on their way to celebrating their first World Series title since moving west nearly a half-century ago.
The big blast, of course, came from Bonds, who crushed a 1-1 offering from Angels phenom reliever Francisco Rodriguez in the sixth inning to right field. It was Bonds' fourth homer of the series, one shy of Reggie Jackson's 1977 record, and eighth of the postseason, extending his own record. Earlier, he broke the World Series record with his 11th and 12th walks.
But as has been the case throughout this postseason, Bonds needed some help from his teammates. And as has been the case for the last four weeks, that help came from some surprising people.
None was more surprising than Dunston, the Giants' 39-year-old benchwarmer-turned-designated hitter, who stepped to the plate in the fifth inning and homered off Anaheim starter Kevin Appier.
For four innings, Appier pitched effective baseball, momentarily putting to rest doubts about his abilities following a disastrous Game2 start.
But even at his best, the veteran right-hander has shown little stamina during this postseason. He hadn't pitched more than 5⅓ innings in any of his four previous starts, so it did not come as a surprise when Scioscia had Rodriguez warming up in the fifth inning.
Turns out K-Rod couldn't come in soon enough. David Bell beat out an infield single, and Dunston followed in stunning fashion by turning on Appier's 1-1 inside fastball and depositing it just over the 330-foot sign down the left-field line.
As Dunston crossed the plate, his son Shawon Jr. stood waiting there to give dad a kiss, perhaps the sweetest moment of this World Series from an 18-year veteran who had never been here before.
Appier, meanwhile had a look of sheer astonishment on his face. By the time Kenny Lofton followed with a double off the right-field wall, bringing Scioscia out to make a pitching change, Appier's expression had turned to absolute disgust. He retreated defiantly to the dugout, where with one swipe of the glove he knocked over an entire row of gum and sunflower seeds packets.
Lofton wound up stealing third and then scoring on a wild pitch by Rodriguez, putting San Francisco up 3-0. Bonds' sixth-inning homer and Jeff Kent's seventh-inning RBI single made it 5-0.
In the visitors' clubhouse, the champagne was probably being put on ice about then. It will have to wait one more day.
"One thing about this club, we always come back after tough losses," Baker said. "We've been doing it over and over and over."

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