10/05/2002 01:58 am ET
Kennedy delivers best and brightest
By Jim Street / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The only possible bummer about Adam Kennedy's sensational game Friday night was that he had only a few hours to really enjoy it.
Those darn day games after night games.
But if the Angels happen to beat the Yankees either Saturday afternoon or Sunday night, Kennedy can sit back and reflect on a game that he called, "One of the best games I've ever had."
Let's see. The second baseman who bats ninth in a really good lineup hit a single in the third inning and scored Anaheim's second run, cutting into what had been a five-run Anaheim deficit.
Then he stepped into the left side batter's box in the fourth inning with two
outs, none on and hit a home run to right field.
And in the sixth, with the Angels still trailing by two, Kennedy delivered a sacrifice fly to left field that narrowed the Yankee lead to one
run. And, leading off the eighth inning, the left-handed batting Kennedy faced Yankees left-hander Mike Stanton and sent a pop fly into shallow right field.
The ball ticked off the tip of Raul Mondesi's glove for a double and Kennedy eventually scored the winning run on Darin Erstad's one-out double to right field.
As the media crowded around his locker inside the gleeful Angels clubhouse, Kennedy was as cool as winter morning in Nome, Alaska.
"I can enjoy it for a minute," he said, "but now we have to think about tomorrow."
The Angels, who had a remarkable comeback from a 6-1 deficit in the third inning, comeback early Saturday morning to prepare for a 1 p.m. PT game against
With the Yankees starting left-hander David Wells, Angels manager Mike Scioscia probably will start right-handed-hitting Benji Gil at second base, which has been the case virtually all season and was again in Game 2 of this series.
But 3-for-3 with three runs scored out of the No. 9 spot sure could sway Scioscia to stick with Kennedy, wouldn't you think?
Kennedy definitely fits in well to this group of never-give-up Angels.
"He was a big reason we're here in the first place and a big reason we won tonight's game," shortstop David Eckstein said. "He brings excitement. AK plays little ball with the best of them, but still has the power to hit a home run.
"But what he does best is play the game. He knows how to play the game."
Eckstein referred to the sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.
"He wasn't trying to do too much," he said. "He was trying to hit a fly ball to get the run in."
The solo homer in Kennedy's previous at-bat was huge.
"We had two outs in the inning, no one on base, and he hits one out," Eckstein said. "That kept the momentum going."
As the attention around him grew, Kennedy deflected some of the plaudits. He said it was the kind of game the Angels have played all season. Fall behind, catch up, go ahead and win.
"We had a bunch of guys trying to get on base, and scored a run here, a run there and not have anyone go up trying to hit a five-run homer," he said. "It has been a battle all year long and we enjoy it. You look in the guy's eyes next
to you and you don't want to be the guy to let him down."
Thanks to Kennedy, the Angels are very close to doing something no one but themselves expected them to do -- unseat the Yankees as six-time AL champions.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at
This story was not subject to the approval of MLB or its clubs.