Out of the Frying Pan
by Jessica Polko
Fans at Game 5 were carrying orange thunder sticks with the MLB logo, which while they read "Giants" also advertised their "Authentic collection". I hope they were at least a team promotion, rather than a complete endorsement of the Giants over the Angels by Major League Baseball.
LeAnn Rimes sang the national anthem before the game. Her performance was enjoyable and respectful without a lot of embellishment of the song. Unfortunately, Fox misspelled her name on the broadcast, listing her as LEEANN RIMES.
David Eckstein singled off Jason Schmidt to lead off the first. Darin Erstad then grounded into a fielder's choice for the first out, replacing Eckstein on first. While Tim Salmon struck out, Garret Anderson singled, moving Erstad to second. However, Troy Glaus struck out to end the inning, stranding both runners. During his at-bat, Glaus over-dramatically flopped backwards to avoid a pitch that while high, sailed down the middle of the plate, not threatening his head.
Kenny Lofton matched Eckstein's leadoff single with one of his own in the bottom of the inning. Rich Aurilia showed bunt, but then hit a long, high fly ball. Lofton should have been able to tag up and take second, making the out a sacrifice, however he ran immediately and rounded second before realizing he needed to return to first to tag up. While he returned to first safely, for which the broadcasters applauded him, he would have been on second after the play if he'd run intelligently.
Fortunately for the Giants, his baserunning error didn't cost them. Jeff Kent walked, moving Lofton to second before Barry Bonds hit a double to score Lofton and advance Kent to third. Kent scored on a sac fly by Benito Santiago, after which Jarrod Washburn walked the bases loaded with an intentional walk to Reggie Sanders and old-fashioned poor control for J.T. Snow. Unable to compose himself, Washburn then issued a walk to David Bell, scoring Bonds. His troubles were put to a merciful end only when Schmidt struck out to end the inning with the Giants leading 3-0.
Schmidt retired the first three Anaheim batters in the second, bringing Washburn quickly back to the mound. Lofton again singled, but Erstad made a diving catch of an Aurilia line dive to prevent him from advancing to second. Kent doubled, moving Lofton to third, and Washburn intentionally walked Bonds to load the bases. Santiago singled into center, Lofton scored easily and Kent was safe when the throw to the plate was off. The ball missed catcher Ben Molina and bounced off Reggie Sanders, the on-deck batter, on his hands and knees coaching Kent to slide. San Francisco batted in Bonds before the inning ended, giving the Giants a 6-0 lead.
Eckstein tried to mobilize the Anaheim offense in the third, stealing second after walking and then taking third on a single by Erstad. However the Angels again stranded the runners as the inning ended.
Washburn collected himself after the second and pitched effectively through the fourth without giving up another run. Schmidt continued to shut down the Anaheim offense until the fifth when Orlando Palmeiro, pinch-hitting for Washburn, led off the inning with a double. Palmeiro moved to third on an Eckstein single and scored on an Erstad sac fly. With the momentum now moving in the Angels' direction, Salmon singled to move Eckstein to third, where he was able to score when Washburn let go a wild pitch to the next batter. Salmon, on second after the wild pitch, easily scored when Glaus doubled off the cutout of a Chevron car on the left field wall. Once Schmidt walked Scott Spiezio, San Francisco felt obligated to pull him from the game, calling upon Chad Zerbe to close out the inning. Anaheim moved within three runs of the Giants in the fifth.
Brendan Donnelly kept the San Francisco bats quiet in the bottom of the inning and the Angels' put together a couple of hits in the sixth to score a run, bringing the game to 6-4. After pinch-hitting for Donnelly in the top of the inning, Anaheim brought in Ben Weber to pitch to the Giants. He successfully retired the first two batters of the inning, but then gave up a single to Aurilia and a homer to Jeff Kent.
Tim Worrell effectively silenced the Angels bats in the top of the seventh, making way for San Francisco to continue their offensive assault in the bottom of the inning. Remaining in the game, Weber allowed a single to Snow, hit Bell with a pitch, and then gave up a triple to Lofton that scored both Snow and Bell.
Approaching the plate, Snow observed three-year-old Darren Baker near home. Knowing that Bell was charging down the basepath behind him for what might be a close play, Snow scooped up the child, and while scoring, carried Darren to safety. Observing the play, Darren's father manager Dusty Baker hung his head in his hands. Darren was spending the game in the Giants' dugout along with the sons of several players and executives. The kids were enjoying the game with their family while serving as batboys. Snow's snatch will likely be one of the most replayed moments of this World Series, and between his defensive performances during the playoffs and his quick thinking here, I've definitely developed a newfound respect for the first baseman during this postseason.
After that excitement, Anaheim brought in Scot Shields to relieve Weber. Shields hadn't pitched in the entire postseason, so his struggles to mop up the game were unsurprising. Aurilia went down on strikes, but Kent then hit his second two-run homer of the game. Although Shields gave up a single to Bonds, the inning ended with a groundout from Santiago.
The Angels could do nothing against Worrell in the top of the eighth, so after three Anaheim batters, San Francisco was back at the plate with Shields still on the mound. Two singles, an error, and a Rich Aurilia homer later, the Giants returned to the field, now up 16-4. Scott Eyre retired the first three Angels he faced in the ninth, finalizing the victory.
By the end of the game, the target placed in McCovey cove by Taco Bell was half submerged while surrounded by a fleet of boats. The fast food chain placed the target in the cove beginning in Game 3 with the promise that if a home run hit the target, everyone in America would be entitled to a free taco. Boats remained a good distance from the target for games three and four, but swarmed around it yesterday. Sadly, despite the numerous homers in the Series, none approached the target, so those fans hungry for tacos will have to bring their wallets.
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