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World Series

Winning Hit by Glaus Has Giants Flailing in the Dirt

Angel third baseman responds to knockdown pitches with an eighth-inning double that ties the Series.

October 27, 2002|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

After Troy Glaus burned San Francisco for two home runs in Game 1 of the World Series and a two-run homer in Game 4, the Giants decided to take a different tack toward the Angel third baseman.

It was an old-school baseball approach, right out of the Sal "The Barber" Maglie book on pitching, in which the hurler introduces the back of a power hitter's jersey to the dirt around home plate.

In Game 5 Thursday night, Giant right-hander Jason Schmidt threw a high-and-tight fastball that put Glaus on his back, and in the second inning of Game 6 Saturday night, San Francisco right-hander Russ Ortiz cranked up the chin music, sending Glaus to the ground with another high-and-tight fastball.

"You could see it in his eyes, he was ticked off," Angel batting instructor Mickey Hatcher said of Glaus, who struck out in three of four at-bats Thursday night. "But sometimes you don't want to get a guy mad when he's not swinging the bat that well. He's a cowboy. He's a redneck. Nothing's gonna scare him."

That was apparent later in the game Saturday night, when two key hits by Glaus flattened the Giants and helped lead the Angels to a pulsating, 6-5, come-from-behind victory, evening the series at three games apiece and forcing a Game 7 tonight.

With one out in the seventh and the Angels trailing, 5-0, Glaus singled to left off Ortiz. Brad Fullmer singled, and Scott Spiezio smacked a three-run homer to right field off Felix Rodriguez, which trimmed the lead to 5-3.

Darin Erstad homered to lead off the eighth, and after singles by Tim Salmon and Garret Anderson and an error put runners on second and third, Glaus doubled to left-center off Giant closer Robb Nen, scoring the tying and winning runs, only the fifth time a team has rallied from a five-run deficit to win a World Series game.

"At that point, I was basically looking to hit a ground ball, try to score one run, tie the game, give ourselves a little more life," Glaus said. "Fortunately, he left a slider up. I was able to get it over the outfielders. I was going for a sacrifice fly, a grounder to second, whatever. I didn't really care."

Glaus is batting .417 (10 for 24) with three home runs and eight runs batted in during the World Series and .356 (21 for 59) with seven homers and 13 RBIs in the postseason, so whatever intimidation tactics opponents have tried, they haven't worked. It was the same way during the regular season, when Glaus hit .250 with 30 homers and 111 RBIs.

"He's been getting knocked down a lot," Angel bench coach Joe Maddon said. "They want to get him off the plate so he gives up the outside edge. Some think they can intimidate him, but I've never seen him intimidated. Troy is tougher than people think, and he keeps proving it to people who think they can do things like that to him."

In the top of the eighth inning, Angel reliever Brendan Donnelly twice sent Giant catcher Benito Santiago to his back with high-and-tight fastballs, and Santiago glared at Donnelly as he took first on a walk.

Asked if it was important to send a message to his hitters after Glaus was knocked down twice in two games, Donnelly stared ahead and said, "Next question." But Donnelly's response didn't go unnoticed in the clubhouse, where some Angels said privately that they were pumped up by his response.

"Troy is mentally strong, he doesn't let that stuff affect him," Erstad said. "As a power hitter, he has to understand that's part of the game. He keeps his composure well."

Erstad, though, is another story. Leading off the eighth, the center fielder lined a fat 1-1 Tim Worrell changeup into the right-field seats to cut the Angels' deficit to 5-4, and the word "composure" wouldn't be used to describe his reaction when he got back to the dugout.

"That charged up the entire bench," Maddon said. "He was so pumped up, and so was everyone else. At that moment, we knew we were going to win that game. You could feel it. I don't know why, you just feel that you are."

Salmon singled to center, Anderson blooped a single to left, Glaus smacked his double, and the Angels mixed a nice seven-and-seven, with the Giants on the rocks: it was come-from-behind win No. 7 for the Angels in the playoffs and it forced a Game 7.

"I've been dreaming about Game 7 of the World Series since I was 4 years old," Erstad said. "This is it, the ultimate, what you do in your backyard."

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