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Angels Have More in Tank

Without big contributions from some of their best, they still eliminate Yankees

October 11, 2005|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

The New York Yankees executed their game plan to perfection. They kept Chone Figgins from running wild on the bases. They did not let Vladimir Guerrero beat them.

Better luck next year. The Angels sent the Yankees packing Monday, dismissing them from the playoffs with superior pitching, superior defense and a lineup that displayed signs of life beyond Figgins and Guerrero.

"I've always called our offense a hybrid," first baseman Darin Erstad said. "We don't have one set way we can drive in runs. That can be very beneficial in this situation."

In the moments after the Angels' 5-3 victory, Yankee Manager Joe Torre declared himself satisfied that his team had stopped Figgins and Guerrero.

"I'm pleased we did it," he said. "I'm just not happy with the result."

Figgins, who led the major leagues in stolen bases, stole none in the series. He rarely got on base, with one walk and eight strikeouts in 21 at-bats.

Guerrero, the defending American League most valuable player, had no home runs and no runs batted in.

The result? The Angels won the series in five games, in curious fashion. They had no business outhomering the Yankees, but they did.

The Yankees had four home runs -- none from Alex Rodriguez, who led the league in home runs. Bengie Molina, the Angel catcher, hit three.

"You guys are talking to me because I had a great series," Molina said. "It's not only me."

Said Angel owner Arte Moreno: "Garret [Anderson] drove in runs. Garret stepped up to the plate."

The last time the Angels wrapped up a playoff series in Anaheim, Anderson doubled home the winning runs in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. He drove in a series-high seven runs against the Yankees, including a three-run homer off Randy Johnson to ignite the Angels' Game 3 victory and a solo homer to start the scoring off Mike Mussina on Monday.

Juan Rivera hit .353 in the series. Erstad hit .300. Adam Kennedy tripled home the runs that put the Angels ahead for good Monday.

Shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who also shoved the Yankees into hibernation last year as a member of the Boston Red Sox, smoked a victory cigar and compared his old team to his current one.

"Over there? They're crazy," Cabrera said. "These are gamers over here."

With victory in hand, the Angels freely admitted their lineup did not match up to that of the mercenaries in pinstripes.

"Their whole lineup is cleanup hitters," Angel pitcher Scot Shields said. "It's an All-Star team over there."

Said Erstad: "That is by far the most dangerous lineup we'll see, top to bottom. What does that say about our pitching?"

Good things, particularly given the perils of the starting pitching.

The Yankees knocked out Paul Byrd in the fourth inning of Game 3, a throat infection knocked out Jarrod Washburn before he could start Game 4 and a sore shoulder knocked out Bartolo Colon in the second inning of Game 5.

But, as pitching depth enabled the Angels to lose an arm a day and still prosper, offensive depth enabled them to stop the Yankees even as the Yankees stopped Figgins and Guerrero.

After all, who produced the two most memorable offensive performances of the 2002 World Series run?

Kennedy, batting ninth then as now, hit three home runs in the game that clinched the league championship.

First baseman Scott Spiezio, batting seventh, hit the three-run homer that sparked a five-run comeback in Game 6 of the World Series.

"Our game is about pitching and defense," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "If we get that, we can manufacture the runs to win.

"We've got so many gamers in this lineup, and the guys feed off each other. That's what happened in '02."

*

ALCS schedule

The Angels play Chicago in a best-of-seven series beginning tonight; All times Pacific;

* -- if necessary.

ANGELS VS. CHICAGO

* GAME 1: Tonight, 5:15, Ch. 11

Angels (Byrd, 12-11)

at Chicago (Contreras, 15-7)

* GAME 2: Wed., 5:15 p.m., Ch. 11

Angels (TBA) at Chicago (Buehrle, 16-8)

* GAME 3: Friday, 5 p.m., Ch. 11

Chicago (Garland, 18-10) at Angels (TBA)

* GAME 4: Saturday, 5:15 p.m., Ch. 11

Chicago (Garcia, 14-8) at Angels (TBA)

* GAME 5*: Sunday, 5:15 p.m., Ch. 11

Chicago at Angels

* GAME 6*: Oct. 18, 5:15 p.m., Ch. 11

Angels at Chicago

* GAME 7*: Oct. 19, 5:15 p.m., Ch. 11

Angels at Chicago

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