10/27/2002 01:49 am ET
Opposites connect for Giant homers
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- With only eight Anaheim outs remaining, the Giants enjoyed a five-run lead in what would have been a World Series-clinching victory. And the Mutt and Jeff tandem of Shawon Dunston and Barry Bonds would have been the offensive heroes for San Francisco.
Instead, one man merely added another layer to a postseason resume that's gone from damning to dazzling and another made his teammates and family beam with pride with possibly the biggest hit of his dwindling 17-year career.
"He's always talking about how his daddy's going to hit a home run every day," said Dunston of his son, Shawon Jr., who greeted his dad at home plate after his fifth inning, two-run homer broke a scoreless tie. "I say, 'I'm not Barry. Daddy's going to go out there and do the best he can.'
"My whole family says I'm going to hit a home run every day. They're always positive, but it really came true. And that's why I'm kind of numb, like 'Mmm, I really did,' but even more than that, we lost."
Even after the Angels closed to within two runs on Scott Spiezio's three-run shot in the seventh, Bonds' solo blast from the sixth inning still stood as the game-winning run for the Giants. But Anaheim scored three more in the eighth for a 6-5 victory.
"[The pair of homers] feels great, especially if they put us ahead like 5-0. It's kind of comfortable in there," said catcher Benito Santiago. "But it seems like it's never too easy in this stadium, so we gotta keep plugging and when we get the 27th out, that's when it's going to be decided what's going on. If we don't get that, in the meantime, it's going to be a baseball game up in here."
Bonds' homer, crushed well into the right-field bleachers, was his eighth of the playoffs, pushing him out of a tie with Anaheim's Troy Glaus for the most ever in one postseason. In this homer-happy World Series, contested by two slugging teams, Bonds' blasts may get most of the attention, but Dunston's teammates clearly relished the first postseason homer of the 39-year-old's career.
When Dunston, serving as the designated hitter despite a meager .231 average, one homer and nine RBIs in the regular season, returned to the dugout after his long ball just cleared the wall in left, Bonds offered him some words of encouragement.
"Oh, tremendous. Oh man, that was awesome," said Reggie Sanders. "The right time, two-run homer, opened the door up a little bit for us. They fought back at the end, but for Shawon, that was awesome, an awesome home run."
Said Santiago: "I'm happy for him. I know the guy worked hard and he had a rough time during the season. But those type of players, they stay up and they do their job right, so I'm very happy for him."
"He said I'm going to have a good game," said Dunston, who, like Bonds, is playing in his first World Series. "He told me [that] earlier in BP, but I looked at him and didn't pay attention."
Bonds, who left the clubhouse without addressing the media, likely would prefer to forget his own homer, since he's said on more than one occassion that homering in a Giants loss means nothing to him.
But for Dunston, who's had to come to terms with his playing time slowing to a trickle in the twilight of his career, his key hit could have been one of his favorite memories from his playing days.
"It's bittersweet," he said. "It's nice, but it's not about me. It's just another home run I'm going to remember ... but it's not about me. It's about the team. We lost, so it's not that big after all."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.