American League Championship Series Angels at Giants, Game 6

By Dinn Mann

Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4 | Game 5 | Game 6 | Game 7

We open with a nod to Scott Spiezio, Anaheim first baseman and hard rocker in the grunge-style band Sandfrog. Their stuff doesn't quite qualify as must-buy music along the lines of the new Foo Fighters CD; so no, Spiezio should not quit his day-night job as a ballplayer. The Angels, safe to say, are probably glad Spiezio didn't hurt himself during the pre-game, pre-shot FOX feature in which the guy who's hitting .294 (5 for 17 with five RBIs) in this World Series smashes his guitar on the rocks beyond Edison Field's fence. And speaking of danger, it is worth a moment to express gratitude that no party -- not the media, not Major League Baseball, not the players -- had any overly dramatic fits in the aftermath of the Darren Baker episode. Is he too young to be a batboy? Was it a scary, fluke that should not be repeated? The answers are obvious. All was well that ended well. Lesson learned. Truth is, it was an unforgettable addition to an already extraordinary World Series. Now, it's back to the field, back to the Angels' home turf. Historically -- last postseason aside -- Game 6 has produced some of baseball's most cherished situations, great for one team, lousy for the others: the '85 Cardinals-Royals Series, '86 Red Sox-Mets Series -- last year's Arizona mismatch notwithstanding. The Giants are one victory shy of winning a title for the first time since the franchise relocated from New York after the 1957 season. Tonight, it's Russ Ortiz of the Giants vs. Kevin Appier of the Angels. Neither of these two made it past the third inning in Game 2. Stay tuned.

Top 1
In his career, Kevin Appier is winless in four starts against the Giants. He has a 6.23 ERA this postseason. And there he is, on the mound, the Angels' starting pitcher, in a tense spot. Or is it? San Francisco isn't exactly in an enviable spot. Of the last seven clubs that had the Fall Classic lead entering a Game 6, only one has gone on to win it all: the 1992 Blue Jays pulled it off against the Braves. Kenny Lofton leads off with a popout to shortstop David Eckstein. Darren Baker, as a side note, waits for his cue to get the bat after the play. And there was much rejoicing. Rich Aurilia makes it two popouts (his, to center) in as many at-bats for the Giants. Back to the facts about Games 6 and 7 on the road for the team that led the World Series, three games to two. These six clubs lost the sixth and seventh games as visitors: the '82 Brewers, '85 Cardinals, '86 Red Sox, '87 Cardinals, '91 Braves and 2001 Yankees. Jeff Kent is the No. 3 hitter, and he sends a solid single past Appier and into center field. Barry Bonds is next, and he won't get a chance to swing against the Anaheim right-hander; Appier, following orders from the dugout, intentionally walks Bonds and places Kent on second with Benito Santiago due up. The count goes to 2 and 2 on the SF catcher. Santiago pops out in foul territory, caught near the first-base dugout by Scott Spiezio.
Giants 0, Angels up next

Bottom 1
Russ Ortiz, unbeaten this postseason (2-0), had a lousy night in Game 2, surrendering seven runs in 1 2/3 innings. David Eckstein pops out to left. Darin Erstad bats. Both teams look calm, even cool -- not as cool as the Hummer2 or Brian McKnight was during the national anthem flyover -- but relaxed just the same. Erstad taps out to second. Tim Salmon bats third. Ortiz starts with three consecutive pitches out of the strike zone. The next two pitches are in the zone, and the third is as well: fouled back. Salmon grounds out to third.
Giants 0, Angels 0

Top 2
J.T. Snow, batting .368 in the World Series -- .310 in the postseason -- looks like a credible runner-up to Bonds for Series MVP at this point, if the Giants go on to win. Big if. Snow, who scored further points for the impromptu babysitting in Game 5, flies out to center. Kevin Appier follows that up by recording a strikeout of Reggie Sanders (swinging). David Bell is the batter. He falls behind, 1 and 2, and takes a close-call pitch inside for Ball 2. On 2-2, Bell chases and misses a nice diver-down breaking ball.
Giants 0, Angels 0

Bottom 2
Garret Anderson jumps on a fastball over the outside part of the plate, but he has tried to pull it too much. The deep fly dies on the warning track, resting in Kenny Lofton's glove at the warning track. Troy Glaus, with a 1-1 count after a high-tight second pitch that sends him crumbling to the dirt, fouls off the next pitch. The count goes full. Glaus walks on a pitch that's a little up and in. He's the Angels' first base runner. Brad Fullmer approaches the box. Fullmer, a 28-year-old left-handed hitter -- a guy who chose to become a pro baseball player instead of accepting a scholarship offer from Stanford, pops out to shortstop Rich Aurilia, who squeezes the jammed flair from near his customary position on the dirt. Two outs, one on, for Scott Spiezio. The Anaheim first baseman flies out to center, medium depth. Fee-fi, ho-hum for the Giants.
Giants 0, Angels 0

Top 3
Designated hitter Shawon Dunston flies out to right. Kevin Appier, the Man Who Wasn't There or the Invisible Man -- take your pick -- in Game 2, is demonstrating excellent command. We'll see if the second time through the order is as pretty. Kenny Lofton tries to bunt his way on. Troy Glaus charges and makes a no-margin-for-error play, picking up the ball bare-handed, on the run, and throws in time to first. Rich Aurilia, with the formerly sleeping Giant -- Jeff Kent -- on deck, walks on a 3-2 pitch. That gives Kent a two-out at-bat. The San Francisco second baseman takes a 1-1 pitch, and it's called inside, much to the dismay of people with a view that's not as good as the umpire's. No worries, Anaheim fans. Kent pops out to shallow left.
Giants 0, Angels 0

Bottom 3
Bengie Molina, first-ball swinging against Russ Ortiz as if Ortiz were coming off a successful outing -- and as if Molina were not a No. 8 hitter -- flies out to right. Adam Kennedy is up. the count goes to 2 and 2. Kennedy strikes out on a pitch in the dirt (he's tagged out by the catcher, Benito Santiago). David Eckstein grounds out to short.
Giants 0, Angels 0

Top 4
Barry Bonds is the batter. Yes, with the bases empty and nobody out, Kevin Appier is pitching to the Giant slugger. Ball 1. Strike 1 (inside corner). Ball 2. Ball 3, low and in. Ball 4, way inside, nearly hitting Bonds below a calf, above an ankle. Bonds isn't happy. He eventually goes to first, though. Benito Santiago is up, and the count goes to 2 and 2. Santiago grounds into a slick-fielded 5-4-3 double play, started impressively on the hard-hit ball by Troy Glaus. Bonds tried, cleanly and the way Major Leaguers are expected to, to break up two, sliding hard over the bag as Adam Kennedy jumped and threw successfully but a little high to first. With two outs, J.T. Snow steps in. He grounds out to Kennedy.
Giants 0, Angels 0

Bottom 4
How different is this game than the five that preceded it? The fact it's a shutout on both sides through 3 1/2 innings is all you need to know. Well, not all. You need to know when the first runs were scored in each of previous nights. Here you go: Game 5, bottom first; Game 4, top second; Game 3, bottom first; Game 2, bottom first; Game 1, top second. And guess what: Game 6 is going to stay 0-0 through four. Darin Erstad, on the first pitch from no-hitter-so-far Russ Ortiz, grounds out to second. Tim Salmon gets an infield hit on a grounder in the hole between short and third. Rich Aurilia makes a nice try, but his off-balance throw is low and late. Garret Anderson is up next. But the bottom of the inning ends the way the visitors' half did, with a nifty double play, this one of the 5-4-3 variety.
Giants 0, Angels 0

Top 5
One question for these two pitchers: Who are you, and what have you done with Kevin Appier and Russ Ortiz? In fairness, both are better than they were in Game 2. But this much better? Maybe so. Reggie Sanders pops out to shortstop Angels shortstop David Eckstein. David Bell bats next. He hits one up the middle off the end of the bat, and Eckstein, in a combo-dive/roll can't quite get a handle on it. It's an infield single. With one on and one out -- a bona fide rally in this quick-moving chess game -- Shawon Dunston bats. The leadoff man, Kenny Lofton, is on deck. And, meanwhile in the bullpen, rookie phenom Francisco Rodriguez (5-1 this postseason) is warming up. On a 1-1 pitch, Dunston kisses an Appier pitch goodbye, ripping it down the left-field line. At home plate, he is greeted by his son, another one of those family-friendly bat boys, and Dunston plants a big kiss on Shawon Jr. after completing the 2-to-nothing home run trot. Kenny Lofton is up, driving a ball deep to right-center, and it's snagged on the ground just before it thumps the wall by Darin Erstad. It's a one-out double. Suddenly, Appier, who was having a stellar night, is getting yanked by Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia. Appier's upset. Scioscia is concerned. Strategy beats emotion, every time. With the 2-3-4 hitters, Scioscia is going with Rodriguez. Appier takes out his displeasure on a few plastic Gatorade bottles and a styrofoam tray in the dugout. Rich Aurilia falls behind, 1 and 2. Lofton steals third; good jump. Aurilia grounds out to short, the Anaheim infield playing in, and replays show Eckstein narrowly made the play on the heel of his glove as he took a glance at Lofton, leading off third. Jeff Kent is up. Rodriguez gets ahead quickly, 0 and 2. The superb San Francisco second baseman then takes a horribly-wasted pitch, a wild one low and outside that Bengie Molina could have tried harder to smother. Lofton scores easily. A TV camera goes immediately to Appier, fuming, understandably and helplessly on the bench. Next pitch, Kent grounds out to third.
Giants 3, Angels 0

Shawon Dunston home run gives the Giants the lead

Bottom 5
We'll see if Russ Ortiz falls back as well on this, the last night before daylight savings ends. Troy Glaus falls behind, 1 and 2. He then slams a pitch to deep center. Way back, to the wall, and Kenny Lofton catches it. Brad Fullmer gets ahold of one as well, but this one also is caught (by Reggie Sanders in right) -- not as well hit as Glaus's jack. And no, Ortiz is not in any apparent danger of turning into a pumpkin. Scott Spiezio is the next Anaheim batter. Ortiz faces a full count against the first baseman. Spiezio swings at what would have been Ball 4, high but over the plate, fouling it back. On 3-2 again, Spiezio fouls one into the seats on the left-field side, not deep. Next, Spiezio is a two-hop out to J.T. Snow, his counterpart, who flips the ball to Ortiz covering the bag.
Giants 3, Angels 0

Top 6
Barry Bonds utterly jolts a high pitch by Francisco Rodriguez for a lead-off homer to right. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Bonds cements his candidacy for World Series MVP -- playing in his first Fall Classic at the age of 38 -- with his eighth home run of the 2002 postseason, a record. Bonds is one home run shy of Reggie Jackson's mark of five home runs in a single World Series. And at home plate, the streak of father-son HR hugs and kisses is at two: first the Dunstons, then Bonds and his son, Nikolai (spelling found on the 12th page of Bonds' spread in the San Francisco media guide). Benito Santiago strikes out (looking). J.T. Snow singles to left. Reggie Sanders strikes out (looking). David Bell pops out behind first (caught by Scott Spiezio).
Giants 4, Angels 0

Bottom 6
Due up here are the 8-9-1 hitters against the Giants' Russ Ortiz. Bengie Molina lines out to fairly deep right on a 1-2 pitch. The first pitch to Adam Kennedy is a sign that Ortiz is tiring. The delivery is way up. Kennedy then gets a shattered-bat single to center, the hit just out of sprinting Jeff Kent's reach. That brings David Eckstein to the plate and significantly increases the noise inside the stadium. On 0 and 1, Eckstein drives a pitch foul, far down the left-field line. To this point, both of Anaheim's hits were lightly hit. On 1 and 2, Eckstein grounds out to short, slowly, with Kennedy advancing to second. Darin Erstad is up. As this unfolds, one can't help wondering what will become of the incredibly successful Dusty Baker-San Francisco Giants relationship. Baker's contract expires in the days ahead. A lot of teams would love to have him on their side. Would a manager really bolt after such a brilliant run? It has happened before. Johnny Keane, in 1964, left after winning a World Championship with the St. Louis Cardinals, relocating to the dugout of the New York Yankees. After the 1973 season, a title year for the Oakland A's, Dick Williams walked away, taking a year off before becoming skipper for the Angels. Actually, it's premature -- even stupid, perhaps -- to go on too much about that now. The Angels have 10 outs to play with, and that's a ton for this offense. Tim Salmon is in the batter's box and, on an attempted check swing, the count goes to 1 and 2. He went after it. Next pitch, low and away. Salmon strikes out (looking) at a hip-level fastball by Ortiz, who's pumping his fist -- and for good reason.
Giants 4, Angels 0

Top 7
Shawon Dunston, 39, the man who started San Francisco's scoring, leads off the visitors' half of the seventh. He pops out this time. Kenny Lofton gets a hit to right on a belt-high fastball by Francisco Rodriguez, the ball short-hopping in front of Tim Salmon. It's Rich Aurilia's turn to hit. Lofton steals second on a pitchout, and catcher Bengie Molina sails the ball a little wide of second (to the first-base side), and Lofton gets to third as the error trickles into shallow center. The one-out count goes to 2 and 2 on Aurilia, who strikes out (looking) on a slider over the outside edge. Jeff Kent bats. On 1 and 2, Kent drills a two-out, run-scoring single to center. It's 5 to nothing. Barry Bonds, who spent seven seasons in Pittsburgh, starting in a year that ended hopefully, then in sorrow for Anaheim (1986), strikes out (swinging) on a pitch that's low and inside. But maybe the start of something enormous.
Giants 5, Angels 0

Bottom 7
One can't help thinking back to 1951, a year the New York Giants didn't win the World Series, but to that emphatic radio call by Russ Hodges: "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" Garret Anderson grounds out to second on a 2-0 pitch that should have reached the catcher's mitt. Is it going to end quietly? Don't count on it. The Angels have a relentless way about them. See: Troy Glaus follows up Anderson's leadoff out with a single to center. The rally monkey somewhere, is stretching her legs. This may get interesting yet. Brad Fullmer has just singled to right, the fourth hit off Russ Ortiz, the hit that sends him to a seat. Dusty Baker is bringing Felix Rodriguez into the game. Angels fans don't mind one bit. Ortiz gets a parting gift, though, from Baker, who recognizes as much as anybody what Ortiz has done. Baker hands Ortiz a game ball as the starter leaves the mound. Scott Spiezio is the first batter confronting Rodriguez. Runners are on first and second with one out. Rodriguez is clocked at 95 mph on a 1-1 pitch that's fouled away. On 1 and 2 and another foul later, Spiezio takes a pitch high and outside. Tim Worrell is warming up in the San Francisco bullpen. The count goes full. The setting is electric. Make that high voltage. Spiezio turns on an inside pitch, getting his hips into it, and the ball sails deep to right -- Spiezio showing terrific concentration on the cut -- and the drive winds up in the seats. Fans on the first and second row, just beyond where Reggie Sanders runs out of room -- are going ape. What an inspiring at-bat Spiezio, what a made-for-Disney moment. Ortiz can only watch. Still one out. Left-handed Orlando Palmeiro pinch hits for Bengie Molina. Rodriguez gets up in the count, 0 and 2, with an 0-2 foul back catching some flesh on Benito Santiago's wrist (catching hand). The count goes to 2-2, and Palmeiro strikes out (swinging) on a Rodriguez delivery that's right on target over the upper-outer part of the zone. That's the end of Rodriguez's stint. Scott Eyre enters the picture for a lefty-vs.-lefty duel with Adam Kennedy, the Anaheim second baseman. The one and only hitter he'll face plants a broken-bat single in left field, bringing the tying run into the batter's box and signaling show time for Worrell, San Fran's set-up man. He gets David Eckstein to fly out to right. The end of the inning. But maybe the beginning of ANA-mazing comeback.
Giants 5, Angels 3

Top 8
Brendan Donnelly is the new Anaheim pitcher. He lives dangerously, walking Benito Santiago after going full on the count. On one pitch, Santiago spins all the way around, and some emphatic clamoring for a ruling that he swung ensues. In the umpire's eyes, it was a ball. With Santiago on first, J.T. Snow flies out to center. It's 0 and 1 to Reggie Sanders. Angels closer Troy Percival, meanwhile, is warming up. Donnelly strikes out Sanders on three pitches (swinging). Two pitches later, the count's 0 and 2 on David Bell. The next pitch is deemed away, barely. On 2 and 2, Bell swings and misses.
Giants 5, Angels 3

Bottom 8
It's Tim Worrell on the mound, and due up for Anaheim are the 2-3-4 hitters. Speaking of due, Darin Erstad is. Not anymore. Erstad makes this a one-run game, what Fall Classics are all about, with a smash that thrills the Southern California crowd. It's a home run to right. No doubt. Tim Salmon is next. He singles to center. The thunder sticks are echoing. The owners are caught on camera. Michael Eisner (Angels) is shown making a fist. Peter Magowan (Giants) looks determined, hopeful. Chone Figgins will pinch run for Salmon. The next batter is Garret Anderson, a powerful left-handed hitter. Right away, there's a new uh-oh situation for San Francisco as Anderson goes the other way against Worrell. Anderson dumps a little fly toward left. The speedy Figgins was going to make it to third no matter what. But Barry Bonds misplays the bloop hit, allowing Anderson, the go-ahead run, to take second. Only in the Magic Kingdom version of the World Series would a one-sided 5-0 game in favor of the road team become 5-4 scene, one with nobody out in the bottom of the eighth, with runners on second and third. Cue Robb Nen. Giants manager Dusty Baker shows Worrell the exit and summons the SF bullpen ace. It's Nen vs. slugger Troy Glaus, who has just one homer fewer (seven) than Bonds this postseason. And just as the name Bonds is typed, Glaus hits a gigantic fly to deep left, where Bonds is giving chase. He won't get there. Glaus has a two-run double that gives the ecstatic home team a 6-5 lead. A fan holds up a sign: "These are our innings." No kidding. For anybody who didn't believe in Angels, they should hear the bell ringing now. Clarence in "It's A Wonderful Life" wasn't this praiseworthy. Brad Fullmer can't live up to the act in front of him -- though, he did send a pulse-quickening liner, just foul, down the right-field line -- as he strikes out (swinging). Scott Spiezio is intentionally walked. Jose Molina, the substitute catcher for Anaheim, bunts the runners to second and third for out No. 2, a well-executed sacrifice. All that speculation about MVP, if the Angels win, scratch it. It still might be Bonds. It still might become Glaus. It might be a Game 7 hero, for that matter, or one who does something more on this good-as-it-gets night. Nen falls behind in the count, 3 and 1, to Adam Kennedy with first base open. It goes to 3-2, and Kennedy strikes out on a low foul tip that Benito Santiago secures nicely. It's a one-run game, reversed in the home team's favor. But don't go away. Jeff Kent would bat if one runner gets on base, and Bonds is scheduled fifth in the top of the ninth.
Angels 6, Giants 5
Erstad's home run makes it a one-run game
Glaus drives in two, giving the Angels a 6-5 lead

Top 9
The Giants are going with Tom Goodwin (left-handed hitter) instead of Shawon Dunston (right-handed) against right-handed closer Troy Percival. Goodwin has one hit in seven career at-bats against the Anaheim closer. Now, it's 1 for 8. Percival strikes him out (swinging) on a fastball that stays down, right over the middle of the plate. Percival goes right after Kenny Lofton, too. With a 2-2 count, Lofton pops out to the Angel of the hour, Troy Glaus, in front of the coach's box along the third-base side. Two outs. Hearts are racing. San Francisco is one out away from entering a Game 7 that didn't look possible just two innings ago. You have to go back to 1975 to recall a heartbreaking Game 6 road loss that was overcome in Game 7. The Big Red Machine, Cincinnati, did that, responding to the Carlton Fisk homer in Boston by countering with a dagger and a trophy. The Angels aren't a machine. They're more like Code Red, always responding in an emergency. Percival is in another world, showing a look that's hard not to believe in. The 6-foot-3 right-hander sends an unhittable fastball to the upper, outer part of the strike zone. Rich Aurilia is out, swinging, missing. And the Angels live on, and a seventh-game Sunday is on deck. Talk about ANA-mazing turn of events. It says here that Game 7 is up in the air, that Livan Hernandez vs. John Lackey is a recipe for more fireworks, for potential late-inning miracles. Yes, more.
Final: Angels 6, Giants 5
Series tied, 3-3

Dinn Mann is editor-in-chief of Send questions, comments and suggestions to