Out of the Frying Pan
by Jessica Polko
Following their Game 2 loss, San Francisco manager Dusty Baker remarked that they played American League ball in Sunday's 11-10 loss in Anaheim. He also commented that he didn't expect that there would be as many runs scored by a team in any of the PacBell games. The Anaheim Angels evidently were interested in the challenge.
Tony Bennett sang "America the Beautiful" before the game in place of the national anthem. While I much prefer the song to "God Bless America", I disapprove of substituting it in place of the official anthem. Bennett is strongly connected to San Francisco due to the fame of his song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". Unfortunately, we could hear the 76-year-old's age in his voice.
Livan Hernandez retired the first three Angels in the top of the first. After walking to lead off the bottom of first, Kenny Lofton slid under the tag on a pickoff throw from Ramon Ortiz. Scott Spiezio batted him in the face with his glove during the tag attempt. However, Lofton was off the bag again once the ball returned to the mound. Ortiz threw to first several times before working Rich Aurilia to a 3-2. Lofton ran on the pitch and successfully stole second on the strikeout. However, the replay indicated that Adam Kennedy tagged his backside before Lofton's hand reached the base on his headfirst slide.
Jeff Kent hit a checked swing drive to the pitcher, but the ball glanced off Ortiz's glove to land on the grass between first and second, so Kent was safe and Lofton advanced to third. While the Angels walked Bonds, Lofton scored on a Benito Santiago groundout to second before J.T. Snow stranded the other baserunners on an inning-ending grounder to Ortiz.
Neither team scored in the second, though Glaus hit long foul balls to left and right before flying out to deep center. The primary focus of the broadcast at that point was centered on actor Robin Williams in the stands and his particularly odd sunglasses.
Anaheim, having developed the necessary underdog mindset, came back in the third with four runs. San Francisco pitching coach Dave Righetti visited the mound during the inning, and while calming Hernandez, also mentioned at the end of the conference that Livan should remember to back up home plate. At the end of the inning, the Giants walked Ben Molina to get to the pitcher for the third out. While Ortiz was a sure thing, Molina has not hit particularly well in the playoffs and likely also would have been an easy out. San Francisco could have used that out in the fourth when the Angels again put 4 runs up on the board, chasing Livan Hernandez from the game before the end of the inning.
Ramon Ortiz wasn't stopping the Giants in their tracks, but he kept them scoreless through four before giving up a solo shot to Aurilia in the fifth. Kent singled to get on base before Bonds, and Bonds promptly hit a two-run homer just over the centerfield wall, making him only the second player in history to homer in his first three World Series games.
Bonds knew the ball was out of the park when he hit it and walked a few steps down the line before stepping into a slow home run trot. He also walked out before the game during the introductions rather than jogging like the other players. Few people in sports can get away with that kind of showmanship, but I believe Bonds has earned it. Walking during the introductions merely gave the fans sufficient time to applaud. I also think there's no need for him to sprint around the bases on his homer trips. He's proven earlier this season that his hamstrings are delicate, and no one should want the Series decided while Bonds is benched with a torn hamstring. However, his pause, before the walk, before the slow trot, left me unsettled, perhaps because the Giants were still down by four, perhaps because his face lacked the smile that's accompanied him most of the postseason. Whatever the reason, that homer just didn't work quite as well for me as the others.
Anaheim put a couple of hits together in the sixth to score another run and move their lead to 9-4. The seventh passed without either team scoring, but then in the top of the eighth, the Angels attacked Scott Eyre with three consecutive singles, loading the bases, so that when Darin Erstad hits a grounder back to the pitcher, Ben Molina is able to score on a bad throw to the plate. The Giants stopped the barrage by catching Benji Gil on a run down when he tried to score after Molina later in the play. San Francisco managed a hit in the bottom of the eighth, as did the Angels in the top of the ninth, but the score would remain set at 10-4 as the game came to a close.
With this loss, I fully expect the Giants to lose the Series. Even if they somehow drop the next two, the Angels will only feel motivated upon returning home to their crowds. In fact, Rally Monkey Syndrome might be more effective if they go home without a lead in the Series.
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