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Erstad, Fullmer homer in Angels' Game 2 win

10/10/2002

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- So much for Minnesota's Metrodome dominance.

Darin Erstad and Brad Fullmer homered off Rick Reed as Anaheim
built a six-run lead, and the high-flying Angels beat the perky,
pesky Twins 6-3 Wednesday night to head home with a split in the
first two games of the AL Championship Series.

"You have to get acclimated to the dome,'' Fullmer said. "We
got acclimated a little bit.''

A night after Joe Mays stymied Anaheim's high-octane offense in
the Twins' 2-1 opening victory, the Angels got to Reed from the
start. Erstad, the No. 2 batter, sent Reed's sixth pitch over the
fence in right-center, where it landed 409 feet away -- nestled in
one of the stacked-up seats used for Vikings games.

"It's nice to get a lead. It's nice to jump out. That gave us a
big lift,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Anaheim tacked on three more runs in the second, two of them
unearned because of a costly error by catcher A.J. Pierzynski -- who
couldn't hold on to a throw home after Reed caught a runner off
first.

"The game should have been 2-0,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire
said.

When Fullmer chased Reed with a two-run homer in the sixth, it
seemed over. But Minnesota battled right back, knocking Ramon Ortiz
out in the sixth when Corey Koskie hit an RBI single and Doug
Mientkiewicz, who had three hits, had a two-run single.

Brendan Donnelly replaced Ortiz and got out of the inning, and
20-year-old rookie Francisco Rodriguez struck out two in a 1-2-3
seventh.

After a two-out walk to Torii Hunter and a single by
Mientkiewicz put runners at the corners in the eighth, Scioscia
brought in Troy Percival, whom he had been reluctant to use in the
eighth until after the New York Yankees rallied to win the division
series opener.

"Percy is a guy we do have available for four outs when
necessary,'' said Scioscia, who brought in his closer just four
times in the eighth during the regular season.

Percival, who hasn't allowed an unearned run to Minnesota in 35
innings during the regular season, got ahead 1-2 in the count on
pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty. With the crowd on its feet, shouting and
waving Homer Hankies, Kielty took a called third strike on a
changeup.

"It came back nice over the inside corner,'' said Percival, who
finished up with a perfect ninth for the save. He struck out three
of the four batters he faced.

"We made too many mistakes early,'' Gardenhire said. "We had a
chance. We had some runners on and had some opportunities.''

When the series resumes Friday in California, where the Angels'
"rally monkey'' awaits, Jarrod Washburn pitches against the Twins'
Eric Milton -- who no-hit Anaheim in September 1999.

With Tuesday's win, Minnesota improved its postseason record at
the Metrodome -- where grounders to shortstop can turn into doubles
-- to 13-2. Reed has two of the Twins' three postseason losses in
the dome.

Anaheim, which had been 1-9 in ALCS road games, found the
solution: Get a big early lead to quiet those Homer Hanky-waving
fans.

"Our job was to come here and win one out of two on the road,''
Fullmer said.

A Metrodome baseball record 55,990 filled the ballpark, and they
didn't like what they saw early. Erstad, 5-for-12 against Reed in
his career, put the Angels ahead in the first with his first
postseason homer.

After failing to get a leadoff hitter on in the first 10 innings
of the series, Anaheim's first three batters got hits in the
second, with Scott Spiezio's bloop double near the right-field line
bouncing over an onrushing Michael Cuddyer to make it 2-0.

After Reed threw out a runner at the plate on a comebacker,
Pierzynski's error cost the Twins, the top-fielding team in the
major leagues during the regular season, two more runs.

Reed caught Adam Kennedy leaning and threw to first for the
pickoff. Kennedy broke for second, Spiezio then headed home from
third, and Mientkiewicz threw to the plate.

But Pierzynski couldn't handle the throw as Spiezio made contact
with him and scored. David Eckstein's RBI single made it 4-0.

Minnesota, which had just 74 errors in 161 games during the
season, had six in seven postseason games. Pierzynski, who had
three during the season, has two during the playoffs.

Ortiz, hit hard by the Yankees last Friday, allowed three runs
and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings, repeatedly pitching out of trouble.
Minnesota's leadoff hitters reached in the third, fourth and fifth
innings, but one was erased by a pickoff and two by double-play
grounders. Anaheim has turned eight already in the postseason

Reed, 1-3 in seven career postseason starts, gave up six runs --
four earned -- and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"I've got a lot of redeeming to do, but it's a seven-game
series,'' Reed said. "My number might come up again.''

Game notes
Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura and former Twins star Tony
Oliva sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game'' in the seventh inning.
"This is dedicated to Bud Selig,'' Ventura told the crowd before
starting the song. ... Minnesota's previous postseason losses in
the dome were 5-2 to Toronto in Game 2 of the 1991 ALCS and 6-3 to
Oakland in Game 3 of this year's division series. ... Angels RF Tim
Salmon, who had a cortisone injection, left in the middle of the
third inning because of a tight right hamstring. The Angels think
he will be available Friday. ... Johan Santana, J.C. Romero, LaTroy
Hawkins and Mike Jackson combined on shutout, two-hit relief for
the Twins.