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Team's Loss Dwarfs Glaus' Personal Success

Angel third baseman knows that hitting two home runs in his first World Series game is special, but says 'right now we're trying to win ballgames.'

October 20, 2002|Helene Elliott | Times Staff Writer

Troy Glaus' expression never changed, not when he was asked about the joy of hitting two home runs in his first World Series game, and not when he was asked about the disappointment of the Angels' 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants Saturday at Edison Field.

Happiness and pride were set aside. The idea is to win, and the Angels, for the third consecutive postseason series, lost their opener. As Glaus sees it, nothing else meant much, not his second two-home run game in postseason play or any of the historical footnotes that went with it, such as tying five other players for the most home runs in one postseason (six), or joining five other players who hit two homers in their World Series debuts.

"It doesn't really matter," he said of his exploits. "We didn't win tonight. This team has been about winning all year, and we came out on the losing end. We just have to forget it and move on."

Glaus rarely displays emotion, and he stayed in character after he hit his first home run, an 0-2 blast into the Angels' bullpen in left field in the second inning that made him merely the 27th player to homer in his first World Series at-bat.

And after the game, after he emerged from the trainer's room and his ritual of icing his right shoulder, he told a throng of reporters gathered around his locker that he didn't feel any great surge of sentiment after his feat.

"I felt like we were down, 2-1, and we've got to play the game," said Glaus. "That was an at-bat. I happened to hit a home run."

He happened to hit another, leading off the sixth inning. This time, he powered a 1-0 pitch to left, the 44th time a player has had a multi-homer game in the World Series and the second time a player has had two multi-homer games in one postseason. In that regard, Glaus, who also hit two homers in the opener of the Angels' American League division series against the New York Yankees, joined Willie Aikens, who had multi-homer games in the first and fourth games of the 1980 World Series.

Glaus' homer cut the Giants' lead to 4-2, and the Angels manufactured another run in the inning. However, despite the support of a loud and loyal crowd of 44,603 and the presence of the rally monkey on the right-field scoreboard, they couldn't generate the rally magic they showed against the Yankees and again in the American League championship series against the Minnesota Twins.

"It's special, obviously, but right now we're trying to win ballgames," said Glaus, whose homers have been hit with the bases empty. "We got it back to a 2-1 game and one more swing from somebody else, and it's tied.... We just came up a little short."

For that, he was quick to commend Giant starter Jason Schmidt and the San Francisco bullpen.

"Jason's got great stuff," said Glaus, who took a called third strike in his final at-bat, against Tim Worrell, in the eighth. "He's got an electric fastball, great change and good slider. He made a couple of mistakes. Unfortunately, we just didn't get enough....

"They're a great team. They're well-balanced. They pitch well, hit well and play good defense. You don't get to the World Series lacking one or the other."

Glaus said he was a bit nervous when he awoke Saturday, mostly because he was antsy to get back on the field after the Angels' pennant-clinching victory over the Twins last Sunday. Once the game began, however, he said his jitters faded.

"It's the same game we've been playing since we were kids. The only thing that's different is all this," he said, gesturing toward the reporters standing around him.

If there's one thing he hopes won't be different, it's the Angels' resilience. They lost their first game against the Yankees at New York but won the next three; they lost the AL championship series opener at Minnesota, but came back to win the next four and clinch their first AL pennant.

"This time, we were trying to change it up," he said, in what passes as a joke from him. "If we can take anything, it's that we've come back before.... It's about winning. It's all about the 'W.' We've just got to go out and give 100% [today]."

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