Originally created 10/14/02

Angels advance to World Series



ANAHEM, Calif. -- Once Adam Kennedy and Anaheim broke out their thunder sticks, there was no doubt - the Angels were going to the World Series for the first time.

Kennedy hit his third homer of the game in the seventh inning and the Angels erupted for a 13-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins to win the AL championship series in five games.

He connected in a 10-run inning and became just the fifth player to homer three times in a postseason game.

The Angels, who joined the major leagues in 1961, blew past the New York Yankees to win their first-round series 3-1, then humiliated a Twins team Sunday in a seventh inning that saw 15 Anaheim batters come to the plate against Santana, J.C. Romero, LaTroy Hawkins and Bob Wells. The 10 runs tied the postseason record.

Anaheim, which had been one of only seven major league franchises without a pennant, will open at home Saturday against the NL champion, either San Francisco or St. Louis.

Twice before, the Angels had been one victory away, but they failed to make it both times, losing three straight games to Milwaukee in 1982 and three in a row to Boston four years later - when they were one strike away before Dave Henderson's home run off Donnie Moore.

Founding owner Gene Autry, who died it 1998, never got to fulfill his dream of watching his team in a World Series game.

But after losing Tuesday's opener at the Metrodome, the wild-card Angels won four in a row. And they did it against one of baseball's great survivors.

Anticipating their team finally would ascend to the Series, some fans showed up dressed as angels, complete with wings. Others held their "rally monkeys" and, fittingly, the pitcher who started the game that put the team in the World Series is called "Ape" by his teammates - Kevin Appier.

Through it all, they pounded together their Thunder Stix, long plastic batons that filled Edison Field with a steady drumbeat.

The Twins, who made the playoffs after surviving the attempt by baseball players to fold them, had had won six straight postseason games when facing elimination, including two games in the first round against Oakland.

Hoping to send the series back to the Metrodome, where they are 13-3 in postseason play, they took a 2-0 lead on David Ortiz's RBI double in the first off Kevin Appier and A.J. Pierzynski's run-scoring single in the second.

But Kennedy started the comeback with a home run off Game 1 winner Joe Mays leading off the third, and Scott Spiezio's homer tied it leading off the fifth. One out later, Kennedy put the Angels ahead with a drive into the right-field bleachers. He singled later in the inning, leaving him with four hits and five RBIs. Spiezio also had two hits in the inning.

Francisco Rodriguez, Anaheim's 20-year-old rookie sensation, then brought back memories of 1982 and 1986, when the Angels were a victory away only to lose three straight to Milwaukee and Boston. Rodriguez walked pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty in the sixth, forcing home the tying run, then threw a wild pitch that put Minnesota ahead and gave up Jacque Jones' sacrifice fly.

But the Twins' 5-3 lead didn't last long and Rodriguez wound up with yet another win in the postseason. He's now 4-0 in this year's playoffs - the first four victories of his major league career.

Spiezio and Bengie Molina singled off Santana, who had escaped a two-on jam when he relieved in the sixth. Kennedy fell behind 0-2, then smacked a hanging curveball over the wall in right-center.

Even he seemed stunned, not reacting until he rounded first base and started shouting. The only other players to homer three times in a postseason game were Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson, who did it in the World Series, and Bob Robertson and George Brett, who did in the league championships.

Anaheim, 5-0 at home in the postseason, then punished the Twins. Spiezio wound up with three hits and three RBIs, and Tim Salmon had three singles - part of the Angels' 18 hits overall.

Romero walked Garret Anderson with the bases loaded, Shawn Wooten hit an RBI single, Romero threw a run-scoring wild pitch and Spiezio hit a two-run single for an 11-5 lead.

Wells hit David Eckstein with a pitch with the bases loaded and Darin Erstad hit an RBI grounder.

Notes: Kennedy's only other multihomer games were July 4, 2000, against Seattle and against the Chicago White Sox on May 10 this year. The only other multihomer game of the postseason was by the Angels' Troy Glaus against the Yankees. ... The only franchises not to win pennants are now Colorado, Houston, Montreal, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Texas. ... The Philadelphia Athletics scored 10 runs against the Chicago Cubs in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the 1929 World Series and Detroit scored 10 runs against St. Louis in the third inning of Game 6 of the 1968 World Series.