Angels wait over

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 28, 2002

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Tim Salmon hoisted the World Series trophy and took a victory lap around Edison Field. He'd always imagined what the trip would be like, and it was harder than he thought.

''It was pretty heavy,'' he said.

And well worth it, for the Anaheim Angels and all their fans who wondered whether this day would ever come.

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Behind rookie starter John Lackey and a big hit by Garret Anderson, the Angels became one of the more improbable champions in baseball history, beating Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 Sunday night in Game 7.

''These fans have been waiting a long, long time for this,'' MVP Troy Glaus said. ''And I know we're all happy to be part of the team to bring it to them.''

The Angels took 42 years to win their first title, and didn't even need their Rally Monkey to clinch it.

Bonds, meanwhile, is still hoping.

As Anaheim players celebrated all over the field, the best hitter in the world watched from a dark corner of the Giants' dugout. Bonds knew this moment could have been his -- a day earlier, it almost was.

''You want the results to be different,'' Bonds said. ''They outplayed us, they deserve it. They beat us. They're world champions.''

In Game 6, the Giants blew a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning. In Game 7, San Francisco never got close to winning its first title.

''The turning point was basically they came back last night,'' Giants manager Dusty Baker said.

His 3-year-old bat boy son, Darren, took it hard. He wailed as his dad carried him from the dugout.

Bonds closed out one of the most dominant overall Series performances ever, yet it wasn't enough. He went 8-for-17 (.471) with four homers and a .700 on-base percentage.

After watching the Angels party, Bonds walked down the dugout and picked up his glove. He walked back, tapped his son on the back and walked down the runway.

''I went 1-for-3 with a walk, that's a good day. Am I supposed to go 3-for-3 with three home runs?'' Bonds said. ''What do you want from me?''

The highest-scoring Series in history came down to pitching, as it always seems to do in October. And Lackey and the bullpen gave Anaheim enough to win baseball's first all wild-card matchup.

The Angels became the eighth straight home team to win Game 7 of the World Series. History was on their side from the start and so was an omen -- a skywriting plane put a gigantic halo over Edison Field before the first pitch.

The Rally Monkey was ready, but the mascot only showed up a couple of times on the video scoreboard.

''We love the monkey because of what it does for us. It's a good-luck charm,'' Lackey said. ''But it's good not to see him because that means we're winning.''

Lackey, pitching on three days' rest, became only the second rookie to win Game 7 of the Series. He joined Babe Adams, who pitched Pittsburgh past Ty Cobb and Detroit in 1909.

Lackey wasn't even with the Angels, stuck in Triple-A, when they went 6-14 for the worst start in team history. But with both staffs worn down, the 24-year-old righty gave Anaheim exactly what it needed with five innings of one-run ball.

''It's not bad. This is where you want to be,'' Lackey said. ''It's a long way from Salt Lake.''