10/13/2002 8:35 pm ET
Angels mean (monkey) business
By Kent Schacht / MLB.com
A distant memory.
Those four painful numbers 1-9-8-6?
Forget about 'em!
Jump around, Angels Nation. With a monkey off your back and one leading the charge, Anaheim has advanced to the World Series for the first time in its 42-year history.
The West Coast's version of the cursed Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox made history in a big way with a decisive 13-5 win over the Twins in Sunday's Game 5 of the ALCS, winning the American League pennant and becoming the first AL team not called the Yankees to advance to the Fall Classic since 1997.
Just like it hasn't been easy for the Angels since their 1961 inception, it wasn't easy Sunday. And just like they did 43 times this season, the Angels came from behind to do it.
After getting two homers in the fifth to take the lead, including un-slugger Adam Kennedy's second of the day, Anaheim took a one-run lead. The Twins would not go away quietly, though.
In the sixth, the Twins got a runner to third before Brendan Donnelly struck out David Ortiz to end the threat.
In the seventh, Minnesota loaded the bases with one out against Donnelly, leaving it up to Francisco Rodriguez, who looked human for the first time in this series, walking in a run to tie the game, and then allowing the Twins to take the lead on a wild pitch. After a sacrifice fly, the Twins were up two.
But in the bottom of the seventh, in the most important game of the year, was there ever a doubt that the Rally Monkey wouldn't come through once again? Kennedy, the Angels' ninth hitter, did the improbable, putting Anaheim ahead to stay with his third homer of the game -- this one of the three-run variety.
And as if somebody from up above couldn't stand to see the Angels and their fans go through the stress of just a one-run lead heading to the finish line, the floodgates opened.
Fifteen batters, 10 hits and an ALCS record 10 runs later, the Angels put the demons to bed.
So now it's on to the World Series for the Angels. Uncharted territory, but with their checkered postseason past now just a memory, don't bet against this team not making more history.
Kent Schacht is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.