10/12/2002 11:11 pm ET
Game 4 win puts Halos in control
By Kent Schacht / MLB.com
Although the 7-1 final score doesn't indicate it, the Angels used small ball to win Saturday's Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
Managed by former National League player Mike Scioscia, the Angels turned a Darin Erstad base hit into a triple with a steal and bad throw to second in the bottom of the seventh. That put Troy Glaus into the hero role again, when his RBI single to left broke a scoreless tie. The Angels added a run on Scott Spezio's RBI double later in the inning that may look like a line drive in the box score Sunday morning, but it blooped just inside the right-field line.
Down 2-0, the Twins were hardly out of it, but once again were shut down by Francisco Rodriguez in the top of the eighth.
In the last half of the inning, the bottom fell out for the Twins as Anaheim pushed across five runs off four Minnesota relievers to suck the tension right out of this game.
Anaheim was in the position to win thanks to a brilliant performance from rookie John Lackey, who pitched like anything but a first-year hurler. Lackey, who started the season in Triple-A Salt Lake, blanked the Twins through seven, allowing only three hits and striking out seven
before turning it over to the sizzling Rodriguez.
Minnesota's Brad Radke was the hardest of hard-luck losers, pitching magnificently in defeat. He allowed the two Anaheim runs in 6 2/3 innings, but was practically untouchable to that point, allowing only two Anaheim hits.
It will be interesting to see on Sunday how the Twins are effected by the implosion of their bullpen in the eighth. Minnesota has played it "one game at a time" all season, but watching one of your team's strengths get blown apart in one of the biggest games of the year can't be a confidence-builder.
Everyone has a theory on which game is the most important in a seven-game series, but there's little doubt that by winning Game 4 and taking a 3-1 edge, Anaheim can almost taste the champagne.
The Angels have done everything they've needed to do since losing Game 1 in the Metrodome, including besting Minnesota's top two starters the last two nights.
Now riding a wave of confidence with Kevin Appier on the mound on Sunday, they can take the next step and continue their improbable journey.
Kent Schacht is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.