Tonight marks the first time we've had the pleasure of back-to-back seventh-game World Series since 1985, 1986 and 1987 produced three full-length Fall Classics. The one that ended last November will be difficult to top, but last night makes one convinced that anything's possible. At a point, when it's convenient for you and you are not glued to every word in this account, by all means click over to today's package on great Game 6 and Game 7 moments of the past -- complete with clips from the original broadcasts (Al Michaels, for example, describing Kansas City's rally against St. Louis in 1985). Also, for pitch-by-pitch graphic depictions, in-progress stats or to second-guess these every-three-out updates, pop up Gameday on your screen. And by all means, tune in to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on FOX if you can, or listen on the radio or Gameday Audio. Sunday nights in October don't get better than this. The Wild Card World Series has been a West Coast Classic, whatever way it turns out. Even though the drastic momentum shift in the late innings Saturday suggests San Francisco is in trouble, don't buy it. The Angels are sending a rookie to the mound, John Lackey. The Giants are going with a former World Series MVP, Livan Hernandez (1997). If you want to get a quick rush -- a reminder of the prelude to whatever we're about to experience -- take in the Post-Game Show from Game 6, particularly Scott Spiezio's at-bat and the overshadowed belt by Darin Erstad. Melissa Etheridge is singing the national anthem tonight. Somebody bring me some water. One of these teams will be soaking in champagne about four hours from now, celebrating the first World Series title for either San Francisco or Anaheim. Which will it be? What will be the headline? The one on the site this morning won't soon be forgotten: "Angels don't die; they go to seven." We're about to see what happens when they get there.
The Angels are trying to become the 13th team to win the World Series in their first trip. The last three teams playing in the Fall Classic for the first time -- the Blue Jays in 1992, the Marlins in '97 and the Diamondbacks last year -- all walked away with the championship rings and an invitation to the White House. One of the franchises that won in its first try: the New York Giants. The San Francisco Giants are 0-2 in World Series appearances ('62, Yankees won in seven; and '89, the A's swept). The game starts at 5:04 Pacific. Kenny Lofton grounds out on a 1-0 pitch, the ball caroming gently off pitcher John Lackey before Adam Kennedy fields it at second and throws in plenty of time to first. Rich Aurilia is the No. 2 hitter. Lackey gets in front, 0 and 2. After a foul into the seats, Lackey throws a high-tight ball to the San Francisco shortstop. Next, the 6-foot-6 right-hander strikes out Aurilia (swinging) on a breaking ball that darts low and away at the plate. Bengie Molina picks up the missed pitch and makes the necessary throw to first. With two outs, Jeff Kent bats. Lackey, a second-round pick in 1999 fresh off a junior college national title, retires Kent on a deep flyout to right. Tim Salmon, after catching the ball on the warning track, throws the ball into the bleachers. The Angels are so nice.
Giants 0, Angels batting momentarily
Livan Hernandez lasted just 3 2/3 innings in Game 3, losing a postseason game for the first time in his career. He had been 6-0. Hernandez gets off to a shaky start, 3 and 1, then walks David Eckstein, missing by a bunch. Eckstein sprints to first as if Maurice Greene is giving chase. Hernandez (now 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 17 1/3 innings as a World Series starter) faces Darin Erstad now. Erstad squares around to bunt, and it's a beauty to the third-base side. Hernandez fields it quickly and gets the out at first. Eckstein is on second as Tim Salmon steps into the box. Hernandez's two Fall Classic victories were earned in Games 1 and 5 in '97 (Florida over Cleveland). Salmon gets one of those big-eyed counts, 2 and 0, then takes a nice pitch over the inside part of the plate. Strike 1. Next pitch: swing and a miss on a nifty pitch that dips tremendously over the heart of the plate. On 3 and 2, Salmon walks on a ball inside. Hernandez doesn't look like he's following through properly. The mighty Angels have ducks on the pond, as they say. Garret Anderson is the hitter. The first pitch to him is close, near the outside corner, but not close enough for umpire Jerry Crawford. Hernandez stares in disapproval. On 1 and 1, Anderson reaches out and hits a looping liner toward center. Eckstein, his wheels spinning excitedly early in this game, speeds too far toward home, thinking it's a sure single. It's not. Kenny Lofton makes a fairly easy catch on a ball that hangs in the air, and Eckstein is a dead duck. Double play.
Giants 0, Angels 0
Barry Bonds lines out to second on the first pitch to him -- stop the presses, a strike -- from John Lackey. Benito Santiago is second in the inning. The count is 0 and 2. The next pitch is called a ball, just inside. The FOX-TV camera shows Livan Hernandez, the San Francisco pitcher, griping toward home plate. Santiago sends a seeing-eye single under the glove of David Eckstein, who dives but can't stop the ball up the middle. Enter: J.T. Snow, the Giant first baseman and a former Angel. Again, Lackey is in front, this time at 1 and 2. A special salute here to Jack Hiatt, Director of Player Development for the Giants who at one time played for the Angels. Hiatt is mentioned here because he will always be remembered for bringing a Major League wood bat to a little kid who'd been hit in the head by an aluminum one during a neighborhood game back in the early 1970s. The 22 stitches long gone, that kid grew up to write this so-called Rundown. Speaking of bats, Snow swings his and drills a hit to right-center. The ball is cut off by center fielder Darin Erstad. Will Santiago score? He was running from first. But no, the Giants instruct their 39-year-old catcher to hold at third as the ball comes in near second. In fact, Snow -- banged up in the legs numerous times in this series -- has been limited to a loud, long single. It's first and third, one out. And Reggie Sanders, trying to win his second World Series in as many years, is at the plate. The count is 2 and 2, and Lackey, 24 years old, is dripping with sweat. He and catcher Bengie Molina have an impromptu chat halfway between the mound and home. Here goes. Ball 3, low and outside -- and a critical backhand grab by Molina of the short-hop pitch. The 3-2 offering is lifted to left, definitely deep enough to get Santiago home. That's what happens: two outs, one run in. David Bell is up with Snow the man on first. Lackey strikes out Bell (swinging) on a pitch that breaks beautifully, low and away.
Giants 1, Angels 0
Sanders' RBI gives the Giants a 1-0 lead
Troy Glaus, batting for the first time since his game-winning, two-run double on Saturday, has a less-successful experience against Livan Hernandez, who appeared to be off his game in the first inning. Glaus strikes out on an 0-2 pitch, swinging. Brad Fullmer is up. He gets under a pitch and sends it to the warning track in left-center. Kenny Lofton, on the run, zeroes in on it and records the out. Scott Spiezio is up. His eight-pitch at-bat in Game 6, one that resulted in the game-reversing rally of the late innings, was the stuff of legends. The count goes to 3 and 2, and Spiezio -- batting .300 and tied for the team high with eight RBIs in this World Series -- earns the two-out walk. Bengie Molina is the batter. The count: 1 and 1, then 2 and 1 on a half-swing that's ruled to have been checked by the first-base umpire. The Giants disagree, and the call is debatable (at slow-motion speed, in fairness to the men in blue). Hernandez's next windup is interrupted. Timeout is awarded, and catcher Benito Santiago trots toward the mound for a brief chat with the pitcher. Next pitch, Molina crushes a pitch -- similar to the Glaus double late Saturday -- and it takes one hop into the wall in left-center. And because it doesn't hop over the wall for a ground-rule double, Spiezio scores from first, tying the game. Huge rip for Molina, the No. 8 hitter in Anaheim's lineup. Adam Kennedy is next, and he flies out to center.
Angels 1, Giants 1
Already, this has the taste of a game that will stay close, that will be more like Saturday's, that might even play out like the Yankees-Diamondbacks winner-take-all game. Pedro Feliz, the 25-year-old designated hitter, grounds out to third. The second out is a quick one, too: Kenny Lofton grounds out (unassisted) to first baseman Scott Spiezio. Rich Aurilia flies out to left, getting too much of the south side of the ball, launching a high, easy out.
Angels 1, Giants 1
David Eckstein leads off for the Angels, the top of their order due up. Eckstein lines a 1-1 pitch to left, too low and too far in front of Barry Bonds for the All-Star outfielder to risk an acrobatic try. Eckstein has a single, a liner that Bonds tries to barehand on the hop -- almost the way he mishandled a bloop hit by Garret Anderson less than 24 hours earlier. Eckstein, who was thrown out on a base running blunder in the first, hustles just the same but but holds up at first. The count to Darin Erstad is 1 and 1, and the Anaheim center fielder swats an outside pitch to left for Anaheim's second single of the inning against Livan Hernandez. No movement is ordered in the San Francisco bullpen. Not just yet. It's first and second, nobody out, and guess who's due up: the 3-4-5 swingers. They are so money. Tim Salmon is about to get a 2-and-1 delivery. The pitch: Salmon swings and misses at a breaking ball that's untouchable as it bends down and away into catcher Benito Santiago's glove. Next, though: Hernandez is wild, high and tight, hitting Salmon on the right hand, awarding the Anaheim right fielder first base. Salmon looks to be OK, but it's a scary moment. Not more scary than the situation for San Francisco. Against Garret Anderson, with an Angel on every base, Hernandez serves up a down-the-middle, belt-high fastball. Anderson pounds it down the right-field line. Reggie Sanders chases it down, and -- during what will become a bases-clearing double -- the San Francisco outfielder gets thumped by thunder-stick-wielding little girl as he bends to pick up the ball at the wall. The physically harmless balloon-like souvenirs are, at worst, an insulting distraction, but they don't seem to have had a meaningful impact on the play. (The fan is not immediately ejected. If that changes, count on it being noted here.) Anderson yanked the ball. Salmon, the third runner, scored easily. It's 4 to 1. Troy Glaus, a strikeout victim his first time, is intentionally walked: manager's orders. that puts runners on first and second with the home team already up by three. Hernandez is replaced. Chad Zerbe is summoned from the bullpen. Brad Fullmer is his first foe. Fullmer, with no sacrifices in his career (thanks for that, Tim McCarver), grounds a ball to short. It could be a double play. It isn't. The Giants get the out at second, a 6-4 force, so it's first and third with one out. Scott Spiezio is next. He hits a medium-speed chop down the third-base line. Anderson is running on contact. He won't make it home; third baseman David Bell throws to Benito Santiago at the plate, and the catcher serves as a human barricade, blocking a feeble slide by Anderson. The Giants escape further damage (post Anderson's first extra-base hit of the World Series) on a Bengie Molina groundout to second (with the out recorded at first).
Angels 4, Giants 1
Anderson clears the bases with a double
The total number of runs in this World Series, 85, is a record. The old one, 82, was set in 1960 (Pirates-Yankees). That number figures to grow, perhaps soon, because Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds are the first two scheduled hitters in the fourth against John Lackey. Kent strikes out (looking). Lackey is not living up to his last name. He's not lacking much of anything, so far. Bonds, on a 2-1 pitch, hits a hard grounder to toward the shortstop side of second. The third baseman, Troy Glaus, is positioned as part of a pronounced BB shift, and he makes a diving stop. But he can't catch Bonds, who hustles up the line and has an infield hit. Benito Santiago follows that up with a solid line-drive single to center. The Angels, fresh off a three-run inning that could have been a lot bigger, are in a jam as J.T. Snow approaches the plate. Snow flies out to center. So, with a two-out opportunity, Reggie Sanders steps in. Lackey is clocked in the low 90s. Sanders is behind, 1 and 2, and Lackey is zipping his best stuff by the SF right fielder. Can you believe a kid was clubbing him during a play? And it wasn't even a cute interruption, not like the Darren Baker one. There, that's the first reference in here to the Game 5 surprise. Sanders flies out to right, leaving two teammates stranded.
Angels 4, Giants 1
Adam Kennedy bats first against Kirk Rueter, the left-handed pitcher who started Game 4 (no decision). He strikes out Kennedy (swinging) on a 3-2 pitch. David Eckstein, on that spirited swing of his, flies out to left on a ball that's hit right at Barry Bonds. Two up, two down. Darin Erstad (with a Major League-record-tying 25 hits this postseason) is up, down in the count, 1 and 2. A Rueter curveball, sweeping away from Erstad, results in a side-retiring strikeout (swinging).
Angels 4, Giants 1
John Lackey, the seventh rookie to start in a World Series Game 7 (one also started in a Game 8, a Classic that included a tie), gets out to a full count on the first hitter, David Bell. The San Francisco third baseman then spanks a sinking high liner toward left-center. There, Darin Erstad makes a dandy, diving play for the out. Only the first rookie pitcher who started a deciding final game -- Babe Adams of Pittsburgh, who pitched an 8-0 complete game against Detroit -- earned a victory under those circumstances. That was in 1909. Lackey was born 69 years after that. Pedro Feliz strikes out. Lackey is one out away from getting through five, qualifying for the capital W. Kenny Lofton, though, interrupts the smooth sailing, earning a walk on 3 and 2. Rich Aurilia is out No. 3, flying out to right on the first pitch fired his way.
Angels 4, Giants 1
The 3-4-5 hitters are Kirk Rueter's assignment in his second inning of work. The San Francisco lefty gets Tim Salmon (hit on the hand with a pitch his last time up) to ground out to short on the first pitch. Then, it's two quick strikes to Garret Anderson. Next: Ball 1. Pierce Brosnan -- a.k.a. James Bond, though some also appreciate the actor on the receiving end of a run-by fruiting -- is shown in the stadium. Anderson grounds out to first, unassisted. A 1-2-3 inning, against these three gnarly Angels? Not quite. Troy Glaus walks. Brad Fullmer is next, and the count goes to 2 and 2, then 3 and 2 in this lefty-lefty duel. Fullmer bounces one back to Rueter, ending the inning and building anticipation for the Giants' due-up weapons.
Angels 4, Giants 1
Brendan Donnelly has replaced rookie John Lackey, who deserved a standing-ovation exit. Go ahead, give him one now. Donnelly doesn't look bad right off the bat, getting Jeff Kent to ground out to third. That brings Barry Bonds onto the scene, walkless in this game. The count goes to 1 and 1, and Bonds pops up high on the infield, where he can't hurt the Angels this time. Shortstop David Eckstein squeezes it, wondering possibly like the rest of us how many more times (only one?) Anaheim will have to go mano-a-mano with Bonds. Benito Santiago bats with the bases empty and two outs. On 3 and 2, Donnelly walks the veteran San Francisco catcher. It's J.T. Snow's turn to take some rips. First pitch: Strike 1 (called). Second pitch: Snow uncorks a double down the outfield line on the first-base side. The ball gets to the wall. Tim Salmon fields it -- and no, the thunder sticks are not used against the hometown right fielder -- and gets it in, slightly off line, but well enough to contain runners at second and third. It's the second time tonight Santiago has gone from first to third on a double, and no farther. Tom Goodwin pinch hits for Reggie Sanders, a lefty batting instead of a righty. The logic is understood. But pull Sanders? Park that experienced stick for the rest of the night? Let the second-guessing continue: Goodwin strikes out.
Angels 4, Giants 1
Scott Spiezio, a switch hitter, bats from the right-hand side against Kirk Rueter, and the Anaheim first baseman pops out on 2 and 2 to Tom Goodwin in shallow right field. Bengie Molina is next. Rueter falls behind, 3 and 1, inviting Molina to crush a pitch. And the catcher does, driving a ball way back, up and off the wall in right-center. It jolts off the wall, down and kicking off Kenny Lofton's forearm. Molina has a stand-up double. Adam Kennedy grounds out to second, moving Molina to third with two outs. David Eckstein, trying to pad the lead, scorches a ball that looks like it might be a single. Jeff Kent prevents that, ending the inning with a diving catch, keeping the game right where it has been since the bottom of the third.
Angels 4, Giants 1
This is the inning where the Angels made their move Saturday. Is this the bizarro Game 6? David Bell creates some serious San Francisco hope with a ball that keeps flying, and flying, and flying toward the wall in left. Garret Anderson is back there. You can tell by the look on his face, the ball is going to come down and get wrapped in leather, and sure enough, Anderson catches it on the warning track. Pedro Feliz, still in the game and in his first start of the postseason, strikes out in the DH role. Brendan Donnelly, the second Anaheim pitcher, now has to deal with Kenny Lofton, the leadoff man. But he's got him with the bases clear. Lofton drives one clear, clear to the wall, but like Bell's belt Lofton's ends on the track, this one in right-center.
Angels 4, Giants 1
Darin Erstad leads off with a groundout to second. Tim Salmon's up. Kirk Rueter has kept the deficit at three runs. The count goes to 3 and 2. Salmon is called out on strikes; he disagrees (was it low?). Garret Anderson takes the stage. He exits, stage center, on a flyball to Kenny Lofton.
Angels 4, Giants 1
The Angels just keep playing inspired baseball, with serious carryover apparent on both sides from Saturday night. Francisco Rodriguez, a 20-year-old rookie, strikes out shortstop Rich Aurilia (swinging) to start the eighth. Every camera glance at Jackie Autry, widow of the legendary founder of the ballclub, is even more feel-good triggering than a Disney flick. Gene Autry, the singing cowboy who recorded "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer," would be impressed with the sea of red that blankets the stadium -- Edison International Field (how do you think they light up Rudolph's nose, after all?) -- tonight. Autry died on Oct. 2, 1998, at the age of 91. You'd like to picture him singing "Back in the Saddle Again," only, maybe he'd change the words, say, to "In the Saddle" because the Angels have never been in this position before, not in Mr. Autry's 38 years of ownership. They're aren't back in the World Series. They aren't in the World Series again. But they are definitely in the saddle, and San Francisco is whiffing left and right, running out of time. Rodriguez makes Jeff Kent look like something other than the former MVP he is, striking out the San Francisco second baseman (swinging). But Rodriguez, who surrendered a home run to Barry Bonds the previous night, isn't about to let that happen again. He pitches around Bonds, a five-pitch walk (and at that, the called strike was questionable). No harm. Rodriguez strikes out the side, the last victim being Benito Santiago. Three outs to go for Anaheim.
Angels 4, Giants 1
The Anaheim at-bat is a tough thing to watch. There's a sense of restlessness, of bring-on-the ninth buzzing in the crowd. Troy Glaus strikes out against Tim Worrell, coming off a role he wishes he wouldn't have played in Game 6. Worrell gets the second batter, too: Brad Fullmer, who grounds out on a spectacular diving stop by J.T. Snow down the first-base line. Snow flips in time to Worrell. Spiezio pops out to third. Take a deep breath, everyone, it's make-or-break time.
Angels 4, Giants 1
Arizona was in a spot like this a year ago. Only, the Diamondbacks were down one run, not three. And, the Diamondbacks were at home. Even so, they were up against Mariano Rivera, arguably the best relief pitcher in the history of this storied game. Attempting to close out this epic: Troy Percival. J.T. Snow is the batter. The count goes to 2 and 2. Percival, squinting as he does, reaches back and fires one toward home. Snow rips it; it's a no-doubt single to right. This is how it happens, one hit at a time. Not to say IT is happening to the Angels or for the Giants just yet. Tom Goodwin is up. Percival does what's most important, starting out with hard-to-hit strikes. It's 0 and 2, and Goodwin taps into a force out at second. Snow slides hard into second, giving David Eckstein a piggy-back ride of sorts. Regardless, there was no chance the speedy Goodwin was going to get doubled up. Anaheim allows Goodwin to steal, and the count quickly goes in David Bell's favor: 2 and 0. Next pitch: Strike 1 (taken). Percival misses low and outside for Ball 3. The 3-1 pitch is worse: Ball 4, low and away, and Percival is off balance in his follow-through motion. Are these things ever easy? Tsuyoshi Shinjo is going to pinch hit for Pedro Feliz, a surprise starter at designated hitter based on a "hunch" by manager Dusty Baker, who may or may not be managing his last game from a San Francisco dugout. The count goes to 0 and 2, and Percival plants a masterful breaking ball near the outside part of the plate. It's called outside -- and probably was -- but, wow, that was a close one to take. On 1 and 2, Shinjo fouls a fastball back. Again, the 1-2: Shinjo can't resist a would-be Ball 2, swinging and missing at heat that stays up and outside, rising like the Angels have in this World Series. Kenny Lofton is the hitter, the guy who ended St. Louis' season with a bottom-of-the-ninth RBI. What will he do here? How will this at-bat unfold? Pitch by pitch, this could be one for the books. Lofton swings at the first pitch, a fastball, and drives it to center. It doesn't have much on it. Go ape, Anaheim. On second thought, no monkey references are necessary this night. Darin Erstad is there. Waiting. Waiting. It's falling, in slow motion. San Francisco is out of time. Erstad catches it. Percival, his back arched, his head in seventh heaven, has both arms in the air. All of the Angels do. They're flying. Cue the harps. The Angels have won the World Championship. It's a Cinderella story. The team that finished 41 games out of first place last season has now topped the Yankees, the Twins and the Giants. The glass slipper is about to be filled with champagne. Troy Glaus, just named the MVP, gets the first sip. Bring on midnight. The Mickey Mouse club -- look at Michael Eisner's shirt, for goodness' sake -- has ... m-i-c ... k-e-y, won 4 games to 3.
Angels 4, Giants 1
Final: Angels win the World Series, 4 games to 3
Dinn Mann is editor-in-chief of MLB.com. Send questions, comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.