10/27/2002 00:52 am ET
The Big Picture: Endgame
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
They came. They saw. They squandered.
The Giants came to the Magic Kingdom and watched in disbelief as the Angels conjured up some magic of their own. The Angels staged the greatest comeback by a team facing elimination in World Series history in a 6-5 victory in Game 6 Saturday night.
While the Angels reached down and pulled a miracle finish from their hats, the Giants squandered a golden opportunity they likely will not see again. Eight outs from the glory of a World Series championship that seemed to be in their grasp, the Giants couldn't hold a 5-0 lead and must now find a way to regroup in time for Game 7.
"It was a great ballgame, I think when you have two teams with such a passion to strive for something, when you have two teams like that there's always a chance special things that can happen and tonight was one of them," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I can go back to the Kirk Gibson (World Series) game in '88 and I think there was about as much electricity in that stadium as their ever was and tonight surpassed that."
Such a devastating loss when the Giants were so close to sipping victory champagne could carry over on a lesser team, but San Francisco manager Dusty Baker doesn't believe his team will have any lingering effects from the loss that will be a factor once the final game begins.
"We'll have to come back tomorrow and get it done," Baker said. "They did a good job coming back tonight. It's a tough loss, but it's not over. You have to put this one behind you and go get them tomorrow.
"We have a bunch of veterans in there that know what's at stake. They know you don't count your chickens before they hatch. They know you got to go out and play to win. The only way you're going to be able to be a world champion is to play."
Baker will send Livan Hernandez, who owns a career 6-1 record in postseason play, against Anaheim's John Lackey in Sunday's Game 7. Hernandez's only loss in postseason play was to the Angels in Game 3. Both teams will have everyone except Saturday's starting pitchers, San Francisco's Russ Ortiz and Anaheim's Kevin Appier, available to pitch.
Momentum isn't the only factor that swung Anaheim's way Saturday. Besides the home field crowd, history would appear to be favoring the Rally Monkey's team. Game 7 will be played at Edison Field, where the Angels are 7-1 in postseason play.
In the history of the Fall Classic, the last seven teams to play Game 7 at home all won the World Series.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.