Barry Bonds hits one of three San Francisco homers as Giants overcome two blasts by Troy Glaus.
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Barry Bonds started his first World Series with a bang. Then the rest of the Giants had a blast.
Behind home runs from Bonds and Reggie Sanders and a two-run shot by former Angel J.T. Snow, the Giants took a 4-3 win over Anaheim on Saturday night and took away the homefield advantage by winning the opener of the best-of-seven Series.
"It's real big," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "Any time you can come in and win Game 1, that's not the whole Series, but it jump-starts you."
It was a happy homecoming if not sweet revenge for Snow, who grew up in nearby Seal Beach rooting for the Angels and was traded from Anaheim to San Francisco, along with $750,000, for nondescript pitcher Allen Watson in a 1996 postseason purge of players management believed were too laid-back.
"This is pretty much a new place," Snow said. "A new stadium. New uniforms. There's only four or five guys and one coach still here.
"It's pretty much a different place. We didn't have any rally monkeys, didn't have any rally animals when I was here. Still, it felt pretty good. It always feels good to do good against your old team."
A crowd of 44,603 made Edison Field electric for the first World Series game in Anaheim by slapping inflatable noisemakers, but it was the Giants' thunder sticks that ruled the pleasant Southern California evening.
Postseason games, especially those that start in the late afternoon shadows and twilight, are often dominated by strong pitching. On this night, though, home runs were what was happening. There were five overall (the other two by Anaheim's Troy Glaus), and it was the first time in history the first three hits of a Series game were home runs.
Bonds' World Series debut has been one of the most intriguing story lines going into the all-California matchup, and he made sure it was worthy of an exclamation point.
Leading off the second inning against a severe defensive shift that had Anaheim second baseman Adam Kennedy positioned in shallow rightfield, shortstop David Eckstein as a second baseman and third baseman Glaus at shortstop, Bonds knocked the fourth pitch he saw from Angels left-hander Jarrod Washburn high into the rightfield seats.
"I could imagine it in my dreams, but I never thought I'd do it until now," Bonds said. "It helped take the tension down a little bit for us, but games aren't won in the first or second inning. They're won in the ninth inning."
Bonds became the 26th player in history to homer in his first Series at-bat and, at 37 years, 2 months, 26 days, the oldest to do so.
"For Barry to start off like that is a very good sign that he's really well-focused," Baker said. "He was kind of quite today, into what he had to do. It was big for us, big for him."
It was the first homer the Angels had allowed in 46 innings, going back to Game 4 of the division series against the Yankees. It took only two batters for there to be another as Sanders hit an opposite-field homer to right.
Glaus quickly became the 27th player to homer in his first Series at-bat with a one-out blast in the second, marking the second time two players did it in the same game.
Glaus joined a more impressive and more exclusive list later when he homered to lead off the sixth, becoming the sixth player to hit two homers in his first World Series game. The last? Tampa Bay's Greg Vaughn, who did it for San Diego in 1998.
The Giants expanded their lead to 4-1 on a two-run home run by Snow with two outs in the sixth. He made an equally impressive move the previous inning with a remarkable play on a foul ball, chasing it near the dugout, slipping on the rubber warning track and landing hard on his backside, then getting up to make the catch.
Then again, maybe his catch shouldn't be considered that unlikely: He is the son of former NFL receiver Jack Snow.
"I don't think I ever made a play like that before," Snow said. "I was lucky I fell on my backside because I was able to keep my head up and keep my concentration on the ball."
The Angels made it a one-run game by scoring twice in the sixth and chasing starter Jason Schmidt. Glaus led off with a homer to left, and Adam Kennedy's bloop single scored Brad Fullmer, who walked.
A big part of the Angels' problem was the inability to deliver clutch hits, something they did with regularity throughout the season. They left eight men on base Saturday, five on second or third. "We were good at that all year," manager Mike Scioscia said. "A couple times they stepped up and made some pitches."
As disappointing as the loss was, the Angels are used to it. They lost the first game of the playoff series against the Yankees and Twins.
"That obviously isn't the blueprint," Scioscia said. "It's the third time it's happened, but we're not looking at anything along those lines. We're going to look at it as one game at a time and let you guys add them up."