Playoff Series: Game 5 of 5

San Francisco won 4-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 9
San Francisco 9Final
St. Louis 6
Game 2: Thursday, October 10
San Francisco 4Final
St. Louis 1
Game 3: Saturday, October 12
St. Louis 5Final
San Francisco 4
Game 4: Sunday, October 13
St. Louis 3Final
San Francisco 4
Game 5: Monday, October 14
St. Louis 1Final
San Francisco 2

    8:20 PM ET, October 14, 2002

    AT&T Park, San Francisco, California 

    123456789 R H E
    STL 000000100 1 - -
    SF 000000011 2 - -

    W: T. Worrell (2-0)

    L: M. Morris (0-2)

    Lofton drives in pennant-clinching run in ninth

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds sprinted across the field so fast, he could've run all the way to the World Series.

    Game 5 at a glance
    Kenny Lofton didn't waste any time as he hit a single on the first pitch he saw from reliever Steve Kline, driving in David Bell with the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Lofton was 3-for-4 and also scored the Giants' first run after hitting a one-out single in the eighth.

    Why, oh why, did Tony La Russa send Matt Morris out to pitch the bottom of the ninth, especially since Morris had such a shaky eighth inning? Remember, La Russa had 12 pitchers on his roster, most ready to pitch if called upon.

    Key move
    La Russa again? You got it. Why did he let Morris bat in the top of the ninth with the game tied at 1-1? With three viable pinch-hitters available (Tino Martinez, Kerry Robinson and Mike DiFelice -- Scott Rolen was on the roster, but wasn't able to play because of a shoulder injury), La Russa inexplicably decided to keep his pinch-hitters on the bench. You would think Martinez -- despite being 2-for-25 in the postseason -- would have been a better option to bat than Morris.

    Key stat
    The Cardinals left 10 runners on base, including five in scoring position. They were also 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. And for the series, the Cards were a dreadful 3-for-39 with runners in scoring position.

    Looking ahead
    The Giants advance to the World Series for the first time since 1989, where they will face the Angels. This will be the first World Series pitting two wild-card teams. Game 1 will be on Saturday in Anaheim. The Giants have their pick of starters in the opener -- Russ Ortiz, Jason Schmidt or Livan Hernandez. The Angels are expected to go with Jarrod Washburn.

    Series schedule
    All times Eastern
    Game 1: Sat., Oct. 19 at Anaheim, 8 p.m.
    Game 2: Sun., Oct. 20 at Anaheim, 8 p.m.
    Game 3: Tue., Oct. 22 at San Francisco, 8:30 p.m.
    Game 4: Wed., Oct. 23 at San Francisco, 8:30 p.m.
    Game 5: Thu., Oct. 24 at San Francisco, 8:30 p.m.*
    Game 6: Sat., Oct. 26 at Anaheim, 8 p.m.*
    Game 7: Sun., Oct. 27 at Anaheim, 8 p.m.*

    * - if necessary

    At long last, baseball's biggest star will get his first chance to play on baseball's biggest stage.

    Bonds' playoff failures became a thing of the past as soon as Kenny Lofton hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning, sending the San Francisco Giants over St. Louis 2-1 Monday night to win the NL championship series in five games.

    ''I'm just so glad I'm going to the World Series,'' Bonds said. ''For me, it's a long time coming.''

    Bonds, often criticized for being selfish and not interacting with his teammates, led the rush from the Giants' third-base dugout to congratulate Lofton. The four-time MVP -- and five-time playoff series loser -- was the first player off the bench to reach him.

    ''It's a feeling I can't explain. Maybe in a few days I'll be able to tell someone how I feel,'' Bonds said.

    Bonds did his part in Game 5, hitting a tying sacrifice fly in the eighth off a determined Matt Morris. And now, at 38 and in his 17th season, Bonds will get the opportunity to win the one prize that's always eluded him.

    The first all wild-card World Series will start Saturday night at Anaheim when the Angels take on the Giants.

    ''I'll know what it's like when I wake up Saturday,'' Bonds said. ''I don't have dreams. I've never been there before.''

    ''We've got a tough series ahead of us. The Angels have been playing great in the clutch. It's going to be down to the wire with them.''

    While his teammates sprayed champagne, Bonds stayed dry -- until his son poured water over his head.

    ''When we win the World Series, I'll celebrate,'' he said.

    Before this year, Bonds had hit only .196 with one homer and six RBI in 97 postseason at-bats. But he hit three home runs against Atlanta in the opening round and kept coming through against the Cardinals.

    ''Once I got past the ghosts of my past, I just played baseball,'' he said.

    The Cardinals, playing on emotion since the death of Darryl Kile in June, once again could not get a big hit when it counted. They finished 3-for-39 with runners in scoring position in the series.

    And the Giants took advantage, breaking through against Morris to tie it in the eighth. In the ninth, Morris retired the first two batters before David Bell and Shawon Dunston singled.

    At that point, Steve Kline relieved and Lofton pulled the first pitch into right field. Bell scored easily, sending the Giants to their first World Series since 1989 as the sellout crowd of 42,673 erupted at Pacific Bell Park.

    Mon., Oct. 14
    I think this World Series is going to be a war. Both teams come to the plate and never give an at-bat away. They battle and battle, so the pitchers will really have their work cut out for them. If Jason Schmidt pitches like he did in Game 2 of the NLCS, that gives the Giants an advantage. San Francisco has a power bullpen, but the Angels seem to have the secret weapon in Francisco Rodriguez. He could prove to be an interesting dynamic in the series. Another key is who will DH for the Giants. They don't have a good bench.

    Lofton especially enjoyed the party, having been booed at Busch Stadium last week when his objection to an inside pitch triggered a bench-clearing skirmish.

    ''It's an awesome feeling at this point,'' said Lofton, acquired July 28 from the Chicago White Sox for two minor leaguers. ''I wanted to get to the playoffs, I wanted to get a ring, and the opportunity came up.''

    Bonds jumped up and down with the NLCS MVP, 37-year-old catcher Benito Santiago. It was Santiago's home run in Game 4 that gave the Giants a 3-1 lead in this series.

    ''This is a dream come true,'' Santiago said. ''I can't be happier than this.''

    Bonds got the chance of a lifetime in the eighth, coming up with the bases loaded, one out and the Giants down 1-0. The home-run king and first-time batting champion delivered -- sort of -- with a fly ball that evened it.

    Giants manager Dusty Baker can celebrate now, but he'll have to get his troops ready for Saturday.

    Tim Worrell, the third Giants reliever, wound up with the win. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa stuck with Morris until the final batter, letting him pitch in a game that honored his mentor -- Kile.

    ''I think he was giving me the opportunity to win or lose it,'' Morris said. ''I ended up losing it.''

    After sweeping the defending champion Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round, St. Louis stopped hitting. All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen did not play in the series after injuring his left shoulder against Arizona.

    ''It was a storybook season,'' Kline said. ''It just didn't have the right ending.''

    Morris had a direct impact on the Cardinals breaking a scoreless tie in the seventh.

    Blanked for six innings by Kirk Rueter, St. Louis got going against reliever Felix Rodriguez when Mike Matheny opened with a double off Lofton's glove in center.

    Morris followed with a nice bunt to the left side and Rodriguez made a poor decision, trying to get Matheny at third when there was no play. The Cardinals, unable to get big hits throughout the series, managed to get a run on Fernando Vina's sacrifice fly.

    Morris, hit hard in losing the opener, kept the Giants virtually silent as he zipped through the first nine batters. He held San Francisco hitless until two outs in the fifth, when a double by Bell wound up bringing a howl from Giants manager Dusty Baker and the crowd.

    Santiago drew a leadoff walk and was still at first base with two outs when Bell blooped an opposite-field double to right. With third-base coach Sonny Jackson putting up a two-handed stop sign, Santiago bumped into third baseman Miguel Cairo as he rounded the bag and retreated.

    The fans wanted an obstruction call to send Santiago home, and so did Baker as he sprung out of the dugout to discuss it with third-base umpire Jeff Nelson. But Nelson's call was absolutely correct, according to Rule 7.06.

    The rule states that it's the umpire's judgment on whether a runner would have advanced without the interference. Since right fielder Eduardo Perez was already making an accurate relay throw as Santiago was reaching third base, it was clear he would not have scored.

    ''I was yelling 'obstruction,' too,'' said umpire supervisor Steve Palermo, who was in the press box. ''It can't get better than this. Jeff Nelson shined tonight. Not only with his call and judgment, but with the application of the rule.

    ''If he was 100 percent sure that the runner would score, then he would award him home plate,'' Palermo said.

    Morris made sure no one scored when he got Rueter on a comebacker, and he left the mound while the crowd booed.

    Game notes

    Morris raised the ire of fans when he hit Lofton in the back with his pitch in the fourth. Plate umpire Tim Welke immediately stepped in front of Lofton, who took his time getting down to first base. ... Perez started while Tino Martinez, stuck in a 2-for-25 postseason slump, was benched. ... There have been three previous all-California World Series: Giants-Athletics in 1989, Dodgers-A's in 1988 and Dodgers-A's in 1974.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press