Giants' 'pen fans flames this time

Used to shutting door, Rodriguez, Worrell, Nen take a beating, instead

World Series

October 27, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The San Francisco Giants might have Bonds - Barry Bonds - but they'll enter Game 7 of the World Series with a bullpen that is shaken and stirred.

The Anaheim Angels forced a one-game showdown for baseball supremacy by scoring six runs in two innings against San Francisco's trio of top relievers in their 6-5 victory last night at Edison International Field.

Angels fans might want to credit their beloved Rally Monkey, but in a baseball sense, it appears that Felix Rodriguex, Tim Worrell and Robb Nen reached the end of their ropes.

That group had combined to post a 2.47 ERA this postseason and was a big reason the Giants' bullpen hadn't blown a lead all postseason. They could almost taste the champagne.

"It's pretty tough," Worrell said. "We had it set up the way we wanted it. It's a little depressing. We've still got tomorrow, and we'll do it again. We'll come out and battle, just like we did today."

Russ Ortiz turned in the best starting pitching performance of this hitter-friendly World Series and left with San Francisco leading 5-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Ortiz walked Troy Glaus and Brad Fullmer singled before Giants manager Dusty Baker summoned Rodriguez.

After making 71 appearances during the regular season, Rodriguez has appeared in 13 of the Giants' 16 playoff games, including all six in the World Series. He is the third pitcher in Series history ever to appear in the first six games, and the first since Dan Quisenberry appeared in all six games of the 1980 World Series for Kansas City.

Darold Knowles appeared in all seven games for the Oakland Athletics in 1973.

Scott Spiezio battled Rodriguez through an eight-pitch at-bat, hitting the last one over the short railing in right field for a three-run homer.

The Angels didn't score again in the seventh, but they forced the Giants to keep using new arms. With two outs, Baker turned to left-hander Scott Eyre, and Adam Kennedy hit a single into shallow right field.

So Baker made his third pitching change, bringing in Worrell. The Giants are used to seeing it work much more smoothly than this. Usually, Rodriguez pitches the seventh, Worrell the eighth and Nen the ninth.

"I can't remember anybody," Worrell said, "going through our 'pen like they did."

Worrell retired David Eckstein to end the seventh, but, leading off the eighth, Darin Erstad drilled Worrell's change-up over the 15-foot-high wall in right field. That trimmed the lead to 5-4.

"That's what happens," Worrell said, "with pitches down the middle of the plate."

It was almost deafening at Edison by that point, and it kept getting louder when Tim Salmon and Garrett Anderson singled. They advanced to second and third when Bonds mishandled Anderson's hit down the left-field line.

Baker summoned Nen, and the fans got to see their fourth Rally Monkey scoreboard skit.

The crowd was in an absolute frenzy when Nen threw his first pitch to Glaus. Nen had converted all seven of his save opportunities this season, matching John Wetteland's record from 1996. But this time a blown save seemed inevitable.

Glaus crushed a high fastball from Nen into the left-center field gap, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs.

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