Out of the Frying Pan
by Jessica Polko
With the Series returning to Anaheim, we were treated to fans that know how to use thunder sticks. The stadium rumbled with the noise of their red thunder sticks, reading "Yes We Can", though I should point out that upon close observation, the sticks are sponsored by Pepsi. Brian McKnight gave a solid, respectful performance of the anthem before the game.
Kevin Appier was a bit shaky in the first, but the starters ruled through the first four innings. There was an interesting play in the fourth when Bonds, on first after a walk, was forced to run to second when Benito Santiago hit an infield grounder directly to Adam Kennedy at second. Kennedy easily made the force, and threw to first for the double play, but Bonds couldn't stop his momentum and slid into the bag, causing Kennedy to jump over him.
San Francisco's bats really began moving in the fifth. David Bell singled and then, while DHing for the Giants, Shawon Dunston hit an improbable home run. When they showed clips of some of his past home runs, I wondered if they'd just go ahead and show them all. Dunston hit only one home run during the regular season and has hit 150 in his eighteen-year career.
Kenny Lofton followed Dunston's homer with a double that knocked Appier from the game. Anaheim brought in Francisco Rodriguez to pitch to Aurilia. Rodriguez retired Aurilia, but Lofton stole third and then KRod let loose a wild pitch during Kent's at-bat that allowed Lofton to score. Consequently, while Kent grounded out, the Giants took the field with a three run lead.
Russ Ortiz, who didn't last two innings in game two, continued to dominate the Angels. Bonds, having gotten a good look at Rodriguez earlier in the Series, homered to lead off the sixth. No other runs scored for the Giants that inning, although J.T. Snow reached base on a single. The Angels' offense started to make some noise in the bottom of the inning, but they were unable to score and left two runners on base.
Returning to the mound in the top of the seventh, KRod allowed Lofton to single. During Aurilia's at-bat, Lofton stole second and then was able to take third as Ben Molina's throw to second was to the right of the bag and Kennedy couldn't come up with it. Recovery of the ball was further slowed because Lofton slid into Kennedy before getting to his feet to head for third; if Anaheim had managed to throw out Lofton, Kennedy likely would have been called for interference. Lofton scored on a single by Jeff Kent, giving the Giants a 5-0 lead at the seventh inning stretch.
In the bottom of the seventh, Troy Glaus hit an inauspicious single to left. The Angels had put runners on a few times before, so the Giants weren't really worried. Brad Fullmer then singled to right, prompting San Francisco to remove Ortiz from the game in favor of Felix Rodriguez. Dusty Baker came out to the mound and handed Ortiz the game ball as he sent him to the bench, indicating that while Baker was pleased with Ortiz's performance, the Giants needed to move to the pen to secure the win and World Series title.
FRod immediately allowed a three-run homer to Scott Spiezio. The Giants brought in Scott Eyre to relieve Rodriguez, and then Tim Worrell relieved Eyre before the inning ended, but the Angels did not score again in the seventh. However, the rally monkey had begun working his magic.
Brendan Donnelly pitched effectively in the top of the eighth, bringing Anaheim to bat in the bottom of the inning looking to overcome a 5-3 deficit. Worrell again went out to the mound for the Giants. Darin Erstad led off the inning with a homer, indicating that the Angels were fully in rally mode. Tim Salmon singled, and I thought I saw an opening for San Francisco to hold onto the game when Anaheim pinch-ran for him with Chone Figgins, since Figgins has shown very poor baserunning instincts in the playoffs. Unfortunately, Garret Anderson hit a line drive into left field, which Barry Bonds could not field cleanly, slipping as he tried to recover the ball. Figgins successfully reached third, while Anderson reached second on what should have been only a single. My heart went out for Bonds, as I saw his hopes for a Series' win diminish and thought of how he would be blamed unfairly for their loss.
Nen relieved Worrell and promptly gave up a double to Troy Glaus, allowing both Figgins and Anderson to score and putting Anaheim in the lead. While he then halted the Angels' scoring, the Giants were unable to come back against Troy Percival in the top of the ninth.
If San Francisco can rebound to win the Series tomorrow, then Barry Bonds should receive the World Series MVP award. However, despite his outstanding offensive performance in the Series so far, I don't think he's likely to win if the Giants lose. I can't imagine giving it to another Giant.
Troy Glaus made a big case for himself today with the hit to start the rally and the double to score the tying and winning runs. He's also performed strongly throughout the Series. I think Francisco Rodriguez's loss will preclude him from contention, as will John Lackey's game four performance, regardless of how they pitch in Game Seven.
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