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Kennedy Hits Three Homers in Game

October 14, 2002

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Adam Kennedy’s bat is usually as quiet as he is.

The light-hitting second baseman isn’t known for his power. He leaves that to Anaheim sluggers Tim Salmon and Troy Glaus.

But the soft-spoken Kennedy became the fifth player to hit three homers in a postseason game and the Angels beat the Minnesota Twins 13-5 to win the AL championship series 4-1 Sunday night.

``This is it right here, the biggest game of my life,″ he said.

Kennedy, named MVP of the ALCS despite going 1-for-10 without an RBI in the first four games, said he couldn’t remember ever hitting three homers in a game.

``Everybody dreams of this,″ he said. ``This is the best one ever.″

Kennedy sent 44,835 red-clad fans at Edison Field into a frenzy with his third homer, a three-run shot that highlighted the Angels’ 10-run seventh inning.

Scott Spiezio and Bengie Molina singled in the seventh before Kennedy came to the plate. He fouled off a sacrifice bunt attempt before manager Mike Scioscia let him swing away.

Kennedy hit an 0-2 pitch from Johan Santana over the 18-foot wall in right-center to put Anaheim on top 6-5.

``He whacked the ball all day,″ Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``We made some bad pitches. He did what you’re supposed to with them.″

The 26-year-old Kennedy, who has played in 470 regular-season games and hit only 23 homers in 1,652 at-bats, yelled in celebration while rounding first base as the ball cleared the wall.

He hit solo homers in the third and fifth innings off Joe Mays.

``I don’t show too much emotion out there,″ he said, laughing. ``But when I saw the ball go over the fence, I let a little bit of adrenaline out and gave a little cheer. It was a good feeling.″

The left handed-hitting Kennedy, who bats ninth, hasn’t played against left-handed pitchers much recently, but he stayed in to sacrifice against Santana.

After fouling off a bunt attempt, Kennedy took a full swing and hit another foul before uppercutting a hanging curveball out of the park.

``This guy’s been swinging the bat so well,″ Scioscia said. ``We saw the Twins were pitching him for a bunt, we saw that and the way he was swinging, we thought we’d give him a chance to rip. He didn’t miss it.″

Kennedy added a single later in the seventh to finish 4-for-4.

He also homered in the division series against the Yankees, and has four in 32 postseason at-bats while playing in eight of Anaheim’s nine playoff games.

``We were trying to bounce ‘em, and we hung ’em,″ Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski said of the pitches to Kennedy. ``That’s what the postseason is all about. He did something great.″

Kennedy was acquired in 2000 from St. Louis along with pitcher Kent Bottenfield in a trade for outfielder Jim Edmonds.

The deal was one of Bill Stoneman’s first major moves as Angels general manager, and was extremely unpopular for some time with local fans because Edmonds became an even bigger star for the Cardinals than he was with Anaheim.

Stoneman made the deal because the Angels were crowded in the outfield and needed a solid second baseman, which Kennedy has certainly become, as well as a starting pitcher.

Bottenfield didn’t pan out, but Kennedy did.

``The reports on him were he was a good offensive player, with work he could become a good defensive player,″ Stoneman recalled.

``This year, he was both.″

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