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Giants rally to tie series
SAN FRANCISCO -- Just in the nick of time, the San Francisco Giants solved the Kid.
David Bell hit a tiebreaking single off rookie sensation Francisco Rodriguez in the eighth inning and the Giants rallied past the Anaheim Angels 4-3 Wednesday night, tying the World Series at two games each.
Somehow, the Giants slowed down Anaheim's persistent hitters. And then, the biggest surprise of all: They broke through against Mr. Unhittable and posted San Francisco's first Series win at home since 1962.
"I was just trying to get a pitch over the plate I could hit hard," Bell said. "He has great stuff and he's been doing a good job."
Rodriguez had blown away all 12 San Francisco hitters he faced in the Series until J.T. Snow singled to start the eighth. Snow moved up on Bengie Molina's passed ball, but stayed put when first baseman Scott Spiezio made a sensational, diving catch on Reggie Sanders' foul bunt.
But Bell became the latest son of a major leaguer to deliver in this Series, singling sharply past diving shortstop David Eckstein. Snow scored ahead of center fielder Darin Erstad's throw, and the celebration was on.
Rodriguez had been 5-0 this postseason. The 20-year-old with a wicked slider and crackling fastball absorbed his first major league loss.
Tim Worrell got the win and Robb Nen closed for a save in a game the Giants trailed 3-0.
It was an October classic, and came on a fitting night. Pete Rose drew the biggest ovation during a pregame celebration marking baseball's most memorable moments.
Jason Schmidt will start for the Giants in Game 5 Thursday night against Jarrod Washburn. It'll be a rematch of the opener in which Schmidt outpitched the Anaheim ace.
Bell's father, Buddy, and grandfather, Gus, both played in the majors. Spiezio and Barry Bonds, of course, also had dads in the big leagues and Snow's played in the NFL.
Pitching on his 24th birthday, Angels rookie John Lackey picked up a nice present, the souvenir ball from his first major league hit. More importantly for Anaheim, he avoided trouble on the mound, thanks mostly to Benito Santiago.
Twice, Lackey intentionally walked Bonds to load the bases with one out. Both times, he got Santiago to hit grounders to Eckstein that the shortstop turned into inning-ending double plays.
Yet Santiago got sweet redemption with an RBI single that capped a three-run fifth that made it 3-all. And in a tasty twist for a Series dominated by long balls, the comeback started with two of the shortest hits yet.
Pitcher Kirk Rueter led off with a high chopper that he beat out for an infield single. Kenny Lofton followed with a bunt that slowly danced down the chalk line until third baseman Troy Glaus picked it up for another little single.
Rich Aurilia singled home the Giants' first run, Jeff Kent hit a sacrifice fly and, after another intentional walk to Bonds, Santiago singled up the middle. The MVP of the NL championship series clapped his hands and pointed toward the San Francisco dugout after rounding first base.
Glaus hit a two-run shot, tying Bonds' record of seven home runs in a postseason, to give the Angels a 3-0 lead in the third.
A day earlier, fans taunted Glaus with shouts of "Welcome to Pac Bell!" after he flied out to the warning track, reminding him it gave up fewer homers than any other ballpark in the majors this season.
Both teams looked for every edge they could find.
Wanting an extra right-handed bat in the lineup, Angels manager Mike Scioscia pulled ALCS MVP Adam Kennedy -- hitting .371 in the postseason -- and instead started Benji Gil at second base. The hunch paid off as Gil singled his first two times up.
The Giants brought out their own good-luck charm in 3 1/2-year-old Darren Baker. After missing Game 3 because of a sinus infection, the son of manager Dusty Baker was back as a bat boy. Not even as tall as some of the Louisville Sluggers he toted, the little boy wobbled out toward the plate during the Giants' rally in the fifth, and Kent had to corral him when a throw went wild.
Lackey was no lackey at the plate in his first major league at-bat -- then again, he hit .428 in leading Grayson County, Texas, to the 1999 Junior College World Series championship.
With runners on first and second and one out in the second, Lackey fouled off a bunt attempt. Undaunted with two strikes, he expertly took a low-and-away fastball the other way to right field for a single that loaded the bases.
Lackey disdained the usual jacket most pitchers wear on the bases while Rueter tossed the ball out of play. Eckstein's sacrifice fly made it 1-0, and Lackey was met by all the Angels at the top step of the dugout when the inning ended.
A leadoff single by Tim Salmon set up Glaus' third homer of the Series, a shot to center over the leaping Lofton.
Notes: Bonds' three intentional walks were the most in a Series game since intentional passes were first recorded in 1955. ... The teams have combined for 14 home runs, three short of the Series record done three times. ... The last pitcher to start a Series game on his birthday was Tim Belcher, who did it in 1988 for Los Angeles. ... Game 3 winner Ramon Ortiz has tendinitis in his right wrist. It's not certain whether he'll be able to pitch again this week for the Angels. ... The first item from this Series headed to the Hall of Fame? The scorecard used by Renel Brooks-Moon, the first woman public address announcer at a World Series. She's finishing up her third season at Pac Bell.