10/13/2002 10:18 PM ET
Surreal seventh stuns both teams
Records galore as Twins, Angels score 13 runs
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The bottom of the seventh inning of Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Friday was hailed as an instant classic. There were three pitching changes, a diving stop, a play at the plate, and a third out caught at the wall with the bases loaded.
To which the entire seventh inning of Game 5 on Sunday -- if it could talk, that is -- said, "Save it, Chachi. You want a big inning? I've got your big inning right here."
Classic? There's got to be a better word invented for something like this.
7th (Inning) Heaven
The Angels set and tied a slew of postseason records with their 10-run seventh inning.
| Runs scored in an inning (10):|
Set LCS record. Previous best was nine set in Game 4 of the 1985 NLCS between St. Louis and Los Angeles (2nd inning)
Tied postseason mark set in Game 4 of 1929 World Series between Philadelphia A's and Chicago Cubs (7th inning) and Game 6 of 1968 World Series between Detroit and St. Louis (3rd inning)
| Hits in an inning (10):|
Set LCS record
Ties postseason record set in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series (7th inning)
| Consecutive hits in an inning (6):|
Sets LCS record
Ties postseason record set in Game 4 of the 1999 ALDS between Boston and Cleveland (2nd inning) and Game 1 of the 1908 World Series between Chicago Cubs and Detroit (9th inning)
| Singles in an inning (9):|
Sets postseason record. Previous best was eight, set in Game 4 of 1985 NLCS (2nd inning)
| Plate appearances in an inning (15):|
Sets ALCS record. Previous best was 14, set in Game 4 of 1985 NLCS (2nd inning)
| At-bats in an inning (13):|
Ties postseason record set in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series
| Players with two hits in an inning (2):|
Angels set postseason record when both Adam Kennedy and Scott Spiezio got two hits in the seventh inning
Kennedy and Spiezio individually tied the ALCS mark of two hits in one inning set by Craig Nettles in Game 2 of 1981 ALCS between New York Yankees and Oakland (4th inning) and Rickey Henderson in Game 1 of the 1990 ALCS between Oakland and Boston (9th inning)
Here's the Cliff Notes version: Trailing 3-2 in the game and 3-1 in the series, the never-say-die Twins scratched out three runs off the vaunted Angels bullpen to take a two-run lead. The Angels, who have a dubious history of closing out ALCS foes, answered with the biggest half-inning in championship series history.
Ten runs on 10 hits, including No. 9 hitter Adam Kennedy's third homer in three at-bats. Game over. Angels go on to their first-ever World Series, Twins go home to the quiet chill of an empty Metrodome.
"That was a ridiculous inning," said Anaheim's Game 5 starter, Kevin Appier. "Just amazing. ... Anyone who saw that knows what I'm talking about."
But to fully appreciate what happened, you have to take a longer look at it, through the eyes of those involved. It was thrilling, then it was amazing, and then it was downright comical.
"Goodness gracious," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, running a hand through hair that surely grew more gray with this game. "I don't know I've ever seen an inning like that."
Nobody had. Because it's never happened. There were a total of 13 hits, 13 runs, seven records tied or set, four pitching changes, three walks (two with the bases loaded), two wild pitches (both allowed runs to score), a hit batsman (also with the bases loaded) and a sacrifice fly.
"And a partridge in a pear tree," joked Angels DH Shawn Wooten.
Facing elimination with that 3-2 deficit going into the top of the seventh, the Twins did something no team had done to date. They made Angels rookie reliever Francisco Rodriguez look human.
Brendan Donnelly, who struck out both batters he faced to help get Appier out of the sixth, got Torii Hunter on a fly ball to center for the first out of the seventh but didn't get another. Doug Mientkiewicz, Dustan Mohr and A.J. Pierzynski strung together three consecutive singles to load the bases.
"We knew they weren't going to just quit," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "And they didn't."
But their shoulders surely sagged a bit when Rodriguez and his three postseason wins came trotting in from the bullpen.
"He's the last guy you want to see," admitted Mientkiewicz.
The Twins didn't get here by cowering in front of filth, though. In staving off elimination in the ALDS, they beat Oakland's Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder in Games 4 and 5. So nobody was surprised when pinch hitter Bobby Kielty drew a full-count walk to force in one run, Mohr scored on a wild pitch, and Jacque Jones made it 5-3 with a sacrifice fly to center.
"I wasn't surprised at all," said Angels catcher Bengie Molina. "When a team like that has its back to a wall, with nothing to lose, there is no fear. I was anything but surprised."
The bottom half of the inning is another story, though. Even a few of the Angels admitted to being surprised. Not by the comeback, but by the sheer relentlessness of it.
"At one point, the only this that I could get out of my mouth was, 'Wow,'" said Angels ace Jarrod Washburn, who watched it unfold from his perch in the dugout. "I was like, 'Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.'"
The biggest wow came when Kennedy, after leadoff singles by Scott Spiezio and Molina, pounced on an 0-2 pitch from Johan Santana and sent it screaming into the right-field bleachers. Two pitches earlier, he had fouled off a bunt.
"My dad always says that everyone's concentration goes up after they foul off a bunt," Spiezio said. "And when he fouled that off, I knew his concentration had gone to another level."
As the ball cleared the wall to again give the Angels the lead, Mientkiewicz's head dropped.
"Not to say that he's not a great hitter, but come on," he said of Kennedy. "You don't expect to see anyone hit three homers in an LCS game. ... We just ran into a buzzsaw."
The buzzsaw had barely started. LaTroy Hawkins took over for Santana, and David Eckstein greeted him with an infield single. Singles by Darin Erstad and Tim Salmon loaded the bases, gave Anaheim an LCS record of six consecutive hits in an inning and sent Hawkins packing.
"We knew they wouldn't roll over," said Jones. "That team can hit, man."
They weren't done. J.C. Romero came on and walked Garret Anderson on five pitches to force in a run before striking out Troy Glaus for the first out of the inning. Then Wooten got the hit parade going again with an RBI single. Pinch runner Alex Ochoa scored on a wild pitch, and Spiezio's second hit of the inning scored two more to chase Romero.
"It's not the Rally Monkey or horseshoes or anything like that," said Hunter. "Those guys can flat-out play."
They weren't done. Little-used Chone Figgins welcomed Twins reliever Bob Wells to the carnage by poking an infield single into the hole between short and third. Kennedy singled to load the bases. Eckstein took a breaking ball in the back to force home yet another run.
If ever there was a time for a manager to pull a Roberto Duran and run onto the field yelling, "No mas," this was it.
"The snowball was rolling, and we just couldn't get it stopped," said Gardenhire. "I mean, they were hitting everything; bullets, rollers, the works. This team is unbelievable when it gets on a roll."
They weren't done. Erstad grounded to Mientkiewicz, who had no choice but to watch the 13th run of the inning score as he ran to first base for the second out. Then Wells struck out Ochoa. The inning was over. And so was the game.
"You know what? This team never ceases to amaze me," said Washburn. "And we did it again today. Unbelievable."
Mychael Urban is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.