Grabbing the most from the moment he'd always waited for, Bonds homered in his first at-bat on baseball's biggest stage, sending the Giants over the Anaheim Angels 4-3 Saturday night in Game 1.
"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.''
Almost every question leading up to this all wild-card matchup centered on one theme: Would the Angels dare pitch to the most monstrous hitter in the majors?
Anaheim hotshot Jarrod Washburn decided to challenge him, and
paid the price.
"For Barry to start a Series like that, it's a very good sign,'' Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "He was very focused tonight, very silent.''
Troy Glaus homered twice for the Angels, connecting in the sixth
right after the Rally Monkey first appeared on the scoreboard. But
with the 44,603 fans jumping around more than the little primate,
Anaheim could not quite catch up in its first Series appearance.
"They keep the pressure on you,'' Snow said. "Every time we
scored, they came back. It's going to be an exciting series.''
Jason Schmidt got the victory, bolstered by 3 1-3 innings of hitless relief from Felix Rodriguez, Tim Worrell and Robb Nen, who pitched the ninth for a save. Snow also contributed a slip-sliding catch earlier that kept the Giants ahead.
"You've got to do whatever you can to get a win,'' Snow said.
"You have to do something every night. Tonight it was my turn,
tomorrow it'll be somebody else.''
The Giants posted their first Series win since 1962, having been
swept by Oakland in the earthquake-interrupted matchup in 1989.
The Angels, who did not have one player with Series experience,
had been 5-0 at home this postseason. Not that this loss will deter
them, having lost the opener in their AL playoff series against the
New York Yankees and Minnesota.
"This obviously isn't a blueprint to go out and lose Game 1,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
A four-time MVP, home run king and batting champion, Bonds had
hoped his whole career for this opportunity. And he was he clearly
all business even before the start.
As players on both sides bounded out of the dugouts with big
smiles during pregame introductions, Bonds was absolutely without
expression as he went down the line.
No one in baseball history had played in more games -- 2,439 -- before reaching their first World Series. And at 38 and in his 17th major league season, Bonds wanted to make every swing count -- he's already done it in the first two rounds of the NL playoffs, hitting four homers with 10 RBI despite drawing 14 walks, six of them intentional.
Bonds tapped Angels catcher Bengie Molina on the shinguards with the handle of his maple bat when he walked to the plate for the first time. Bonds took two balls before a foul tip.
With the fans excited by the prospect of a duel, Bonds turned on
an inside, 90 mph fastball and sent it soaring to right field. He watched for a second and took a nice, easy trot around the bases.
Washburn smiled and tilted his head to the side with a bit of a
smirk as he walked off the back of the mound and rubbed up a new
"I think Jarrod didn't get a fastball where he wanted and Barry hit it out,'' Sciosica said. "As we talked about before, there are going to be times when you have to back off.''
Bonds became the 26th player to homer in his first Series at-bat, the first since Atlanta's Andruw Jones in 1996.
Bonds struck out, grounded out and drew a four-pitch walk the other times he came to the plate.
Glaus' power, however, has exceeded Bonds' show. Glaus has six
homers in this postseason, tying the record shared by five others.
Benched for Game 5 of the NLCS, Sanders rediscovered his stroke
in a hurry. One out after Bonds homered, Sanders sent a drive into
the seats in right-center field for a 2-0 lead.
Sanders started the night in a 5-for-34 postseason slump. Yet
Baker and the Giants had seen Sanders deliver in previous big
games, signing him as a free agent after he hit .304 for Arizona in
last year's World Series.
"Barry got us started with that home run,'' Sanders said. "The
day Dusty gave me off at home gave me a chance to work on the
things I needed to work on.''
Glaus duplicated Bonds' feat when he connected with one out in
the second. Even with the noisy crowd it was a loud home run,
echoing through the park as it sailed out to left.
Snow kept his cool to help keep a one-run lead in the fifth,
then homered in the sixth for a 4-1 edge.
After Sanders singled with two outs, Snow again showed power the
other way when he homered to left-center. The shot chased Washburn
and was especially sweet for Snow -- he's only player in this Series
with extensive experience for both teams, having played for the
Angels from 1993-96 before being traded to the Giants.
San Francisco did not get another hit as the Angels' bullpen was
Despite falling down, Snow made a heads-up play at first base to preserve a 2-1 lead in the fifth. With runners on first and third and one out, Tim Salmon lifted a foul pop and Snow drifted over, only to suddenly slipping on the gravel in front of the dugout.
Snow, who won two Gold Gloves with the Angels and four more with the Giants, regained his feet and composure and made the catch, prompting Salmon to slam his bat on home plate. Schmidt took care of the rest, striking out Garret Anderson to end the inning.
"Luckily, I fell on my backside and was able to keep my concentration,'' Snow said.
The first three hits were home runs, the first time that's
happened in a Series game. ... All six of Glaus' homers in this
postseason have been solo shots. ... Erstad has a hit in all 10
Angels games in the postseason. ... Giants DH Tsuyoshi Shinjo
became the first Japanese player to appear a World Series game,
going 1-for-3. Hideki Irabu was on the Yankees' roster for a World
Series, but did not pitch. ... The team that has won Game 1 of the
World Series has gone on to win the last five championships.