Late rally pushes Angels past Yanks

Oakland evens series with Minnesota

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2002

NEW YORK -- Having watched how comebacks are created in the Bronx, the Anaheim Angels put together one of their own.

Garret Anderson hit a tying home run off Orlando Hernandez in the eighth inning, Troy Glaus followed with a go-ahead shot and the Angels evened their best-of-five AL playoff series by beating the New York Yankees 8-6 in Game 2 Wednesday night.

''I know crazy things happen here,'' said Troy Percival, who escaped jams in the eighth and ninth innings, ''but not tonight.''

After the Yankees had clawed back from a 4-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead, the crowd was stunned. It was the first time New York has ever lost a postseason game at Yankee Stadium when leading after the seventh inning, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

''We do what it takes to win, no matter the circumstances, no matter whatever,'' Glaus said.

A night after failing to bring in Percival in the eighth and watching his bullpen squander a lead in the opener, Angels manager Mike Scioscia called for his closer with Anaheim trying to protect a 7-5 edge in the eighth.

Percival got out of the jam, throwing a called third strike past Derek Jeter, who questioned the call, with the bases loaded.

Scott Spiezio then hit a run-scoring double in the ninth off Jeff Weaver, his third hit and RBI.

The Yankees tried for one more comeback in the bottom of the ninth, with Jorge Posada blooping an RBI single with one out. But with two runners on, Percival struck out Nick Johnson and retired Raul Mondesi on a popup.

Anaheim, which set a team postseason record with 17 hits, then closed out the 4-hour, 11-minute marathon and headed home to California with its first playoff win since 1986, one that gives the Angels hope they can knock off the four-time defending American League champions.

The series resumes Friday with the Angels' Ramon Ortiz facing Mike Mussina.

Athletics 9, Twins 1

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Behind Mark Mulder's steady pitching and a whole lot of timely hitting, everything was back to normal for the Oakland Athletics.

David Justice's bases-loaded triple highlighted Oakland's 14-hit barrage, and Mulder pitched six strong innings as the A's beat the Minnesota Twins 9-1 Wednesday to even their AL division series at one game apiece.

Eric Chavez had a three-run homer, and rookie Mark Ellis got three hits as Oakland emphatically replied to the Twins' 7-5 comeback victory in Game 1 with a tremendous offensive game against Joe Mays (0-1) and the Twins' bullpen.

Each of the first seven hitters in Oakland's lineup got an extra-base hit as the A's jumped to an 8-0 lead after four innings. Justice, the most prolific run-producer in playoff history, added three more RBIs to his record total during Oakland's five-run fourth.

The A's, who won 103 games and the AL West to earn their third straight trip to the playoffs, showed they wouldn't let one loss distract them from their plan to improve on consecutive first-round series losses. Time after time in the early innings, the A's came up with the timely hits that eluded them a day earlier.

Miguel Tejada, their MVP candidate, had only an RBI double -- but the A's haven't relied on one hitter since Jason Giambi left last winter to join the Yankees. Five players drove in a run, and leadoff hitter Ray Durham scored three times.

Game 3 is Friday at the Metrodome, where 23-game winner Barry Zito will face Rick Reed, one of the Twins' two postseason veterans. The crowd should be much better -- and a lot louder -- than the ones in Oakland, where there were thousands of empty seats in the Coliseum's upper deck for both games.

Playing in the postseason for the 10th time in the last 12 years with his fourth different team, Justice had another remarkable October day. His triple down the right-field line broke the game open, with three runners scampering home as the crowd roared.

With two hits in his major league-record 109th postseason game, Justice passed Pete Rose for second place in career postseason hits. Justice has 88 hits -- second only to the Yankees' Derek Jeter -- and 63 RBIs, tops in major league history.

Justice's teams have made the postseason in every year since 1990 -- including 1996, when he was injured -- except for the strike-shortened 1994 season. He has talked about retiring after the season, but he would like to add a third World Series ring to the ones he won with the Braves in 1995 and the Yankees in 2000.

Mulder (1-0) -- who went 19-7 and finished the season on a six-game winning streak -- wasn't overpowering, but he mostly stayed out of trouble while allowing five hits and striking out three. He didn't allow a runner to reach third base in the first five innings.

The Twins hit just .252 against left-handers in the regular season, and they struggled against Mulder -- though Cristian Guzman broke up Mulder's shutout bid with a solo homer in the sixth.

Mays missed three months of the regular season with an elbow injury, and he won just once in six September starts. He never looked comfortable against the A's, allowing nine hits and six runs in 3 2-3 innings.

Chavez got Oakland started with a three-run homer to right in the first inning. It was the first postseason homer for Chavez, who drove in two runs in Game 1.

Tejada, who had just one hit in his first seven at-bats, got Oakland going in the fourth with an RBI double. After Chavez and Jermaine Dye walked, Justice cleared the bases -- and Ellis drove home Justice with a double.

Notes: Seldom-used A's infielder Olmedo Saenz is out for the playoffs after surgery to repair his torn Achilles' tendon. Saenz hurt himself while running to first base in Game 1. ... Dye was awarded a walk in the fourth when Twins reliever Tony Fiore licked his hand with a 3-0 count. ... A's catcher Ramon Hernandez went hitless in four at-bats. He's 0-for-18 over the past two postseasons. ... Twins All-Star catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who went 4-for-4 in Game 1, went 0-for-2. Tom Prince replaced him in the sixth. ... A's closer Billy Koch, who pitched in six straight games during one September stretch, got his first postseason experience by working the ninth to stay sharp.



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