- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. They may not be the most star-studded team ever to win the World Series and they may not be the most dominant team ever to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy.
But the Anaheim Angels just might be the most resilient, and for this group of players and their legion of long-suffering fans, that counts for something special.
After 42 years spent in the relative anonymity of suburban Southern California, the Angels at long last stole the spotlight last night, defeating Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 to win Game 7 of a World Series that looked lost only 25 hours before.
And in a final twist to this wild and wacky Series, they did it without ever needing the services of their Rally Monkey, having taken the lead for good in the third inning while shutting out the Giants the rest of the way.
No, there were no late-inning dramatics this time, no rallying from a five-run deficit in the seventh inning as they did to win Game 6 on Saturday. Only a well-played, well-pitched ballgame right from the start, perhaps their most complete of the entire postseason.
In a World Series full of individual heroics from Bonds and others, this was truly a team victory for Anaheim. Rookie John Lackey provided five solid innings to pick up the win. Garret Anderson provided the big hit, a three-run triple in the third inning to break a 1-1 tie.
And a trio of relievers (unheralded Brendan Donnelly, phenom Francisco Rodriguez and longtime closer Troy Percival) closed it out, Percival getting Kenny Lofton to fly out to center field with two on and two out in the ninth as the Edison Field crowd of 44,598 roared like never before.
"Unbelievable for us, for our fans," Percival said. "This team has worked as hard as any team ever. We deserve it."
In the San Francisco dugout, Bonds could only sit and watch, his quest for the first World Series ring of his 17-year career gone awry.
The Giants superstar had no impact on the outcome of this game, going 1-for-3 with a single and a walk and never once coming to the plate with a man on base. He still put together one of the most dominating performances in World Series history, batting .471 (8-for-17) with four homers, a .700 on-base percentage, a record 13 walks and a record 1.294 slugging percentage.
Troy Glaus, not Bonds, was the series MVP, the Anaheim third baseman having hit .385 with three homers and eight RBI.
"It's a great honor, obviously," Glaus said. "But we play for the big trophy with the pennants on it. It's been a team effort all the way through."
Though they were on the verge of disaster the night before, trailing the Giants 5-0 in the seventh inning of Game 6, history was certainly on the Angels' side entering this game. The last seven Game 7s in the World Series had all been won by the home team, the last three in the game's final at-bat.
Anaheim never needed to take its final turn at the plate in this one. The Angels took their 4-1 lead early and never gave any indication they would give it back.
"We thought we had action on coming back," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "We only threatened a couple of innings there. There wasn't a lot of hitting going on in this game, which is contrary to the other games. We never imagined that would be enough runs to win."
In a World Series that had been devoid of quality starting pitching since Game 1, the unlikely man to break the mold was Lackey, who might have thrown only five innings, but deserves to have his named placed in baseball lore.
Only seven rookie pitchers had ever started Game 7 of the World Series before, and the last one to actually win (Pittsburgh's Babe Adams) did so 93 years ago. And on top of that, Anaheim's rookie right-hander was coming back on just three days' rest, having pitched five innings in Game 4 on his 24th birthday.
"I was given an opportunity," Lackey said. "I just wanted to step up and help these guys out. You get excited more than nervous."
Lackey gave manager Mike Scioscia exactly what he needed in this winner-take-all, anything-goes game. Showing all the poise of a time-tested veteran, he allowed just one run on four hits, the Giants breaking through only on Reggie Sanders' second-inning sacrifice fly.
That was all Scioscia needed from his starter, five solid innings to get him to his lights-out bullpen.
"He did everything we could have asked of him," Scioscia said. "Our whole team did what they had to do. The pieces of the jigsaw fit perfectly."
Baker was not nearly as fortunate.
The San Francisco manager gave the starting nod to Livan Hernandez, hoping the Cuban right-hander could shake of his horrendous start from Game 3 and conjure up some of his magic from postseasons past. Hernandez simply couldn't comply. He was all over the strike zone from the beginning and gave every indication his appearance would be a brief one.
Hernandez made it through two innings allowing just one run (on Bengie Molina's double to deep left-center), but the bottom fell out in the third. The San Francisco hurler put himself in a huge jam when he surrendered back-to-back singles and then drilled Tim Salmon in the right hand, loading the bases for Anderson.
The Angels cleanup hitter has had a solid Series, batting .286 with three RBI entering last night's game, but he had yet to deliver a defining hit. Until now.
Anderson tagged Hernandez's 1-1 pitch down the right-field line, and by the time Sanders fought off the fans who whacked him on the back with their ThunderStix to retrieve the ball, three runs had crossed the plate. Anderson stood on second base, soaking in the affections of an Edison Field crowd that had just seen its team take a 4-1 lead.
"I just wanted to get into a situation where I'd be able to hit my pitch, not do too much," Anderson said.
Chad Zerbe finished out the third, and Kirk Rueter kept the Angels off the scoreboard from the fourth inning on, surely giving Baker reason to wonder whether he should have given this start to the veteran left-hander on short rest all along.
"We didn't wrestle with that decision, because Kirk was going on three days' [rest] and Livan was on his regular days," Baker said. "Kirk, he gave us all he had. To start the game you know, our bullpen's spent. We feel we did the right thing going with Livan."

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