15 years ago tonight, the LA Angels concluded their second game against the San Fransisco Giants in the second meeting of the 2002 World Series. It was one of the most exciting of the series, and set up the series with grand expectations.
The LA Angels sent out the 34-year old Kevin Appier to try to even up the series. However, starting pitchers were of no use in this game. The Angels exploded out of the gate with five runs in the first inning, led by Darin Erstad who drove in a run and later scored with a double in the first. The inning was capped off by a double steal by Scott Spiezio, which plated Brad Fullmer.
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However, the 5-0 lead didn’t last long. The second inning involved three home runs. Two of which came in the top of the inning. This made it 5-4 Angels before Tim Salmon continued his dominance by hitting his third long ball of the series on a huge two-run shot.
After the Giants plated another run in the third inning, it turned into a chess match. Both Mike Scioscia and Dusty Baker were using relievers. Scioscia even turned to John Lackey, who was scheduled to start Game 4, for a few innings of relief. The move did not pay off well, as Lackey contributed to a huge fifth inning for the Giants, who eventually garnered a 9-7 lead.
After Anaheim tied it up, Tim Salmon once again stepped up. He hit his second two-run shot of the game, giving the Angels an 11-9 lead heading into the ninth inning. With rally sticks as loud as ever, Troy Percival took the mound for the save after rookie Francisco Rodriguez retired nine straight Giants on 25 pitches (22 strikes).
Percival was given the green light to pitch to Barry Bonds. However, Bonds proved why he was the best player in the game with an absolute moonshot to right field. Percival shut down the rest of the inning, and the Angels evened the series at one game apiece.
The Angels bats were alive in this game. Besides the obvious, this was also the first time since the 1960 World Series that a team lasted an entire playoff game without being sent down on strikes. This was also the most recent occurrence.