Kennedy's 3 HRs send Angels to first World Series

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- As players jumped around the infield and

thousands of screaming fans pounded their plastic sticks together

in a victorious drumbeat, the reality was sinking in.

Game 5 at a glance


In a great clutch postseason performance, Adam Kennedy hit three home runs, including the go-ahead three-run blast in the decisive 10-run seventh inning for the Angels. Kennedy now has four homers in the postseason after having hit only seven during the regular season.


The totally ineffective Twins bullpen trio of Johan Santana, LaTroy Hawkins and J.C. Romero. The three combined to allow nine runs -- all earned -- in the pivotal 10-run seventh. For the series, the three were a combined 0-2 with a 16.22 ERA.

Key move

With Kennedy facing Santana in the seventh with two runners on, no outs and the Twins down by two, manager Mike Scioscia originally had Kennedy (who rarely hits against left-handed pitchers) bunt. Kennedy fouled off the bunt on the first pitch, but after that Scioscia had him hit away instead and Kennedy slammed an 0-2 hanging slider over the right-center fence.

Key stat

The Angels set a League Championship Series record by getting six straight hits in the seventh inning.

Key stat, II

The Twins became the first team since the '95 Reds to go homerless in an LCS.

Looking ahead

The Angels now await the winner of the NLCS between the Giants and Cardinals in the World Series, which will start on Saturday in Anaheim. Jarrod Washburn, who got a no-decision despite allowing only one run in seven innings in Game 3, will be ready to start Game 1 against the NL champion.

With the help of Adam Kennedy's newfound power, Anaheim finally

made it to the World Series, where no Angels' team had gone before.

And then thoughts turned to the late Gene Autry, Hollywood's

singing cowboy and the team's founding owner, who wasn't there to

see it.

''I know Mr. Autry's smiling up there, and I'm so happy that

Jackie's here to enjoy it with us,'' Tim Salmon said. ''To be with

this organization as long as I have, and to feel the emptiness of

the fans all these years, and the pain and frustration, it's like

we're paving a new road here.''

In the movies, Autry's horse was named Champion. Now his team

is, too.

After 41 seasons of frustration, and four years after Autry's

death, the Angels finally got that final out.

Halo-lujah! They did it.

Kennedy, a No. 9 hitter with little previous proclivity for

power, had three home runs, four hits and five RBI, the most

heavenly game of his baseball career.

Just minutes after the Angels had squandered another postseason

lead, bringing back all those painful playoff memories, Kennedy

broke out the biggest Thunder Stick of all -- a 34-inch, 32-ounce

Louisville Slugger.

His first homer started the comeback, his second gave Anaheim a

short-lived one-run lead. And then came his third, a three-run,

go-ahead drive in a 10-run seventh inning Sunday. The Angels

humiliated those resilient Minnesota Twins 13-5 to win the AL

championship series in five games.

The Angels will try on the World Series saddle for the first

time Saturday when they open at home against San Francisco or St.

Louis. A picture of Autry, Hollywood's ''Singing Cowboy''

turned-baseball owner, was hanging throughout the weekend on a

banner behind home plate and no doubt will be there next weekend.

''This was a goal of Gene's all of his life in baseball, and the

fact that he was not here to see it personally -- I know he's

watching it from somewhere,'' said his widow, Jackie, who gave the

AL trophy to manager Mike Scioscia in her role as honorary league


''His inspiration is what really drove this team,'' she said.

''Guys like Tim Salmon and Troy Percival and the other young men on

this ballclub who knew Gene Autry wanted to get it done.''

Anaheim had just wasted a 3-2 lead in the sixth when Kennedy's

three-run drive off Johan Santana erased a 5-3 deficit and made him

just the fifth player to homer three times in a postseason game.

''Oh, man. This is tremendous,'' said Kennedy, the series MVP.

''We worked hard the last few years to bring it all together and we

finally got it done.''

The Angels, who joined the major leagues in 1961, blew past the

New York Yankees to win their first-round series 3-1, then

humiliated the Twins in a seventh inning that saw 15 batters come

to the plate against Santana, J.C. Romero, LaTroy Hawkins and Bob


Anaheim, whose playoff hopes had seemed bleak following a 6-14

start, tied postseason records with the 10-run inning and six

consecutive hits -- something the Angels also did against the


''They're on a roll,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

''Those guys, they just keep playing. And they keep swinging.

Goodness gracious, I don't know if I've ever seen an inning like

that. We couldn't get anybody out. They were hitting balls through

holes, over -- bullets.''

Anaheim, long the second banana in Southern California to the

Los Angeles Dodgers, had been one of only seven major league

franchises without a pennant. No more.

Adam Kennedy's three homers Sunday were the most by a single player in a playoff game since 1978.
Adam Kennedy's three homers Sunday were the most by a single player in a playoff game since 1978.

''It's the biggest game of my life,'' said Kennedy, who has 23

regular-season homers in four major league seasons and four in this

year's playoffs. ''I'm going to enjoy this for a while and then get

back to work.''

Twice before, the Angels had been one victory from the World

Series but failed to make it. They lost three straight to Milwaukee

in 1982 and three in a row to Boston four years later, when they

were one strike away before Dave Henderson's home run off Donnie


''Everybody is making a big deal of the 1982 and 1986 teams. We

had nothing to do with that,'' said Scott Spiezio, who had three

hits and three RBI.

When David Eckstein caught the final out -- just as he did in the

division series -- he ran over to Kennedy and tapped gloves, then

danced with Salmon.

The Angels jumped on each other in a mob between first base and

the mound. Fans cheered as Salmon, in his 11th Angels season and

the team's senior member, ran around with the AL championship

trophy. Percival joined his teammates for a lap around the field.

''I think there is some portion of relief with some of the guys

that have been through the wars here,'' Scioscia said.

After losing Tuesday's opener at the Metrodome, the wild-card

Angels won four in a row. And they did it against one of baseball's

great survivors.

Anticipating their team finally would ascend to the Series, some

fans showed up dressed as angels. Others held their ''rally

monkeys'' and, fittingly, the pitcher who started the game is

called ''Ape'' by his teammates -- Kevin Appier.

Through it all, they pounded together their ThunderStix, long

red plastic batons that read ''The Halos Are Back.'' The red-clad

fans filled Edison Field, where Angels are 5-0 in the postseason,

with a booming sound.

The Twins, who made the playoffs after surviving the attempt by

baseball owners to fold them, had had won six straight postseason

games when facing elimination, including two in the first round

against Oakland.

Hoping to send the series back to the Metrodome, where they are

13-3 in postseason play in front of their Homer Hanky-waving fans,

they took a 2-0 lead on David Ortiz's RBI double in the first and

A.J. Pierzynski's run-scoring single in the second.

Kennedy, 1-for-10 in the first four games, started the comeback

with a third-inning homer off Game 1 winner Joe Mays, and Spiezio's

homer tied it leading off the fifth. One out later, Kennedy put the

Angels ahead with a drive into the right-field bleachers.

Francisco Rodriguez, Anaheim's 20-year-old rookie sensation,

brought back memories of past failures. He walked pinch-hitter

Bobby Kielty in the sixth, forcing home the tying run, then threw a

wild pitch that put Minnesota ahead and gave up Jacque Jones'

sacrifice fly.

But the lead didn't last long, and Rodriguez wound up with yet

another win. He's now 4-0 in this year's playoffs -- the first four

victories of his major league career.

Spiezio and Bengie Molina singled off Santana, who had escaped a

two-on jam in the sixth. Kennedy bunted the first pitch foul,

fouled another pitch off with a swing, then smacked a hanging

curveball over the wall in right-center.

Even he seemed stunned, not reacting until he rounded first base

and started shouting. The only other players to homer three times

in a postseason game were Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson, who did it

in the World Series, and Bob Robertson and George Brett, who did in

the league championships.

''I don't show too much emotion out there,'' Kennedy said.

''When I saw the ball go over the fence, I let a little bit of

adrenaline out and gave a cheer.''

Anaheim then punished the Twins. Spiezio, like Kennedy, had two

hits in the inning and wound up with three RBI.

Percival closed out the ninth and already was looking ahead.

''We got one more step,'' he said. ''We're not done.''

Game notes
Kennedy's only other multihomer games were July 4, 2000,

against Seattle and against the Chicago White Sox on May 10 this

year. The only other multihomer game of the postseason was by the

Angels' Troy Glaus against the Yankees. ... The only franchises not

to win pennants are Colorado, Houston, Montreal, Seattle, Tampa Bay

and Texas. ... The Philadelphia Athletics scored 10 runs against

the Chicago Cubs in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the 1929 World

Series and Detroit scored 10 runs against St. Louis in the third

inning of Game 6 of the 1968 World Series.