10/09/2002 11:42 pm ET
Angels get big win with big bats
By Kent Schacht / MLB.com
They arrived a day late, but they got to Minnesota just in time.
The Angels' bats, which were lost somewhere between Southern California and the Land of 10,000 Lakes during Tuesday's Game 1 loss, showed up big time at the Metrodome on Wednesday clubbing six runs, eight hits and two homers.
To label any Game 2 as a "must win" is silly, but let's just say the Angels and their fans are feeling a lot better after Wednesday's 6-3 victory than they were after Game 1. If for no other reason because they may not have to come back to the dome to get to the World Series.
The Angels head back to Anaheim having snatched back the all-important home-field advantage, and in any series featuring the Twins, it is all-important. Wednesday's win for Anaheim was only the third time in Twins playoff history they've failed to come through under the Teflon.
That's not the only reason notching the series 1-1 was important for the Halos. When the two teams meet this weekend, the Twins will be a confident bunch, and they should be, as they will come armed with their best two pitchers from the ALDS in Games 3 and 4 -- Eric Milton and Brad Radke.
Need more justification to smile as you pet your Rally Monkey? Ramon Ortiz was back to his happy self Wednesday.
The Ortiz that scattered 10 hits very effectively over 5 1/3, allowing three runs Wednesday in Minneapolis looked a lot like the guy that gave the Angels 15 wins in 2002, and nothing like the starter that lasted only 2 1/3 after allowing six runs on three hits and four walks against the Yankees last Saturday in Anaheim.
The Dominican native, who is sometimes compared to Boston ace and fellow countryman Pedro Martinez, put together a Pedro-like start until the sixth. Although he struggled a bit in that sixth, by then, he was able to turn it over to the AL's finest bullpen.
And just like they've done all year, the firemen in red closed the door. Brendan Donnelly, Francisco Rodriguez and Troy Percival (good move Mike Scioscia, no reason not to pitch him in the eighth) combined to shut out the Twins for three-plus.
Goodbye bad hops, bad lighting and Midwest hospitality, hello SoCal ... see you on Friday.
Kent Schacht is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.