ANAHEIM -- Never mind Los Angeles and Anaheim. Any more of this, Santa Barbara and even Barcelona will want to claim the Angels.A night after being laid-back, the Angels and their fans both lashed back Wednesday night to even this Division Series with the Yankees at a game apiece. On opening night for the National Hockey League, the Angels could've been iced. Instead, they came, they thawed, they conquered. Big, this win to knot the Series, instead of their stomachs? "Absolutely," Adam Kennedy said. "You don't want to go to New York down two-nothing. You do that in a five-game set, you're looking for trouble." And for some, New York is a good place to find it -- even if you don't play baseball. After this 5-3 special, the Angels don't have to be concerned with stepping into Yankee Stadium with one foot in the baseball grave. That was the final score, of course, but the numbers also represent the two biggest plays that drew the two biggest roars from 45,150 who clearly appreciate the subtleties of the game. In the fifth inning, with two out, one run in and New York already leading 2-0, third baseman Chone Figgins dove and extended his body beyond its 5-foot-8 limits to backhand Hideki Matsui's laser and throw him out -- with the scooping help of Darin Erstad. For good measure, Figgins and Erstad re-created the play on Alex Rodriguez for the game's final out. "Really good plays, on both ends," Kennedy said. "It's nice to know Ersty is at first to pick up those balls." The significance of this win for the Angels goes far beyond merely knotting the 2005 Division Series. Swept in this exercise last year and similarly brushed aside in Tuesday night's opener, the Angels had to kick back some sand. And they did, by faithfully playing the type of opportunistic ball that has been their trademark for years.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.