The Anaheim Angels had been down this road before, twice to be exact. On the verge of clinching a World Series berth just to be denied that opportunity. In 2002, the Angels looked to break that streak.
The Anaheim Angels had already knocked out the New York Yankees in the ALDS and now had their sights set on reaching the first World Series in club history. Standing in the Angels way was the Minnesota Twins. The Angels and Twins split the first two games of the series in Minnesota. So the two teams headed back to Anaheim.
In Anaheim the Angels won games three and four to put them one victory away from winning the series and earning that elusive World Series berth. This set the stage for Game 5 in Anaheim. The Angels sent Kevin Appier to the mound against Joe Mays of the Twins. The Twins took control early scoring single runs in both the second and third inning to take a 2-0 lead.
The Angels would cut the lead in half in the third inning on a solo homer by Adam Kennedy. They would tie the game in the fifth inning on a solo homer by Scott Spiezio and then take the lead two batters later on a solo homer by Adam Kennedy his second homer of the game for a 3-2 lead.
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The score would remain the same until the top of the seventh inning when the Twins would push across threee runs to take a 5-3 lead thanks to three singles by Doug Mientkiewicz, Dustin Mohr, and A.J. Pierzynski to load the bases. Postseason hero Frankie Rodriguez came in to try to quell the Twins rally, but this Rodriguez could not deliver. He would walk Bobby Kielty to force in a run to tie the score at 3.
Rodriguez would then uncork a wild pitch allowing Mohr to score and give the Twins a 4-3 lead. Jacque Jones would then loft a sacrifice fly to score Pierzynski and give the Twins a 5-3 lead. Just when it looked like the Angels were going to begin another monumental collapse something magical happened…
In the bottom of the seventh inning Scott Spiezio and Bennie Molina singled to bring up Adam Kennedy. The Twins called on a young left-handed reliever named Johan Santana to face Kennedy. On an 0-2 pitch Kennedy swung his mighty bat and crushed a ball deep to right-centerfield and the 44,935 fans rose to their feet and watched Kennedy’s drive float up and over the right field scoreboard for an improbable three-run home run. This was Kennedy’s third home run of the game and the crowd went into a frenzy as the Angels now had a 6-5 lead.
The Angels would not stop there as David Eckstein, Darin Erstad, and Tim Salmon would hit consecutive singles to load the bases. Garret Anderson would then draw a walk to extend the lead to 7-5. Shawn Wooten would single to drive in Erstadand then a J.C. Romero wild pitch would plate another run and now the Angels were in command with a 9-5 lead. Spiezio would then drive in two more with a single to make the score 11-5. The Angels would score two more runs to cap a 10-run seventh inning to give the Angels a 13-5 lead.
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The crowd stayed on its feet the next two innings celebrating every out as the Angels inched closer to that elusive first World Series berth. With two outs in the top of the 9th inning Troy Percival threw a 3-2 pitch to Tom Prince who popped it up to David Eckstein who squeezed it for the final out. The Angels were headed to the World Series, finally.