Anaheim, Calif. This World Series is fit for the silver screen and the stars are the never-say-die Anaheim Angels.
They came out of nowhere.
They win Game 7 with a rookie pitcher.
They beat the best hitter in the world.
And they didn't need help from a monkey.
John Lackey, Garret Anderson and the Angels made it all come true, beating Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants, 4-1, Sunday night for the franchise's first championship in 42 years.
"These fans have been waiting a long, long time for this," MVP Troy Glaus said. "And I know we're all happy to be part of the team to bring it to them."
A day after it blew a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning, San Francisco never got close to winning its first title.
"The turning point was basically they came back last night," Giants manager Dusty Baker said.
Bonds closed out one of the most dominant overall Series performances ever, yet it wasn't enough. When it was over, all he could do was watch from the corner of the dugout as the Angels celebrated.
"I went 1-for-3 with a walk, that's a good day. Am I supposed to go 3-for-3 with three home runs?" Bonds said. "What do you want from me?"
The highest-scoring Series in history came down to pitching, as it always seems to do in October. Behind Lackey and the bullpen, Anaheim had too much to win baseball's first all wild-card matchup.
"I can't believe it, man," Anderson said. "It's been a long year a testament to the guys who never gave up."
The Angels became the eighth straight home team to win Game 7 of the World Series. History was on their side from the start and so was an omen a skywriting plane put a gigantic halo over Edison Field before the first pitch.
The Rally Monkey was ready, but only showed up a couple of times on the video scoreboard.
"We love the monkey because of what it does for us. It's a good-luck charm," Lackey said. "But it's good not to see him because that means we're winning."
Lackey, pitching on three days' rest, became only the second rookie to win Game 7 of the Series. He joined Babe Adams, who pitched Pittsburgh past Ty Cobb and Detroit in 1909.
Bonds wound up 8-for-17 (.471) with four homers, a .700 on-base percentage and 1.294 slugging percentage.
When it ended, Bonds walked down the dugout and picked up his glove. He walked back, tapped his son on the back and walked down the runway as the Angels celebrated on the field.
"You want the results to be different," Bonds said. "They outplayed us, they deserve it. They beat us. They're world champions."
Lackey wasn't even with the Angels, stuck in Triple-A, when they went 6-14 for the worst start in team history. But with both staffs worn down, the 24-year-old righty gave Anaheim exactly what it needed with five innings of one-run ball.
"It's not bad. This is where you want to be," Lackey said. "It's a long way from Salt Lake."
Anderson, finally due to get the recognition he's always deserved, hit a three-run double off Livan Hernandez in the third for a 4-1 lead. The monkey mascot made a brief, early appearance, then sat back and let the sellout crowd of 44,598 bang their ThunderStix like crazy.
"Well, I just wanted to get into a situation where I'd be able to hit my pitch, not do too much," Anderson said.
Brendan Donnelly, Francisco Rodriguez and Troy Percival closed it for manager Mike Scioscia's bunch. Percival escaped a two-on, one-out jam for his third save of the Series.
"Unbelievable for us, for our fans," Percival said. "This team has worked as hard as any team ever. We deserve it."
And when it was over, Southern California, the land of celluloid stars, had just added a whole teamful of them while Hollywood luminaries Pierce Brosnan and John Travolta watched from the stands.
It was particulary sweet for Scioscia. He won titles in 1981 and 1988 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team that long overshadowed the neighbors to the south.
"I'm enjoying it, but what these guys have done they're going to enjoy it for a long time," Scioscia said.
Before this year, the Angels were known mostly for heartbreak, epitomized by the blown save by Donnie Moore that cost them a chance to reach the 1986 Series.
Beloved owner Gene Autry never saw his team get this far before passing away, and it didn't look like these guys would do it, either, especially after finishing 41 games out of first place last season.
Somehow, the Angels pulled it together. They led the majors in hitting, overwhelmed the New York Yankees and Minnesota in the AL playoffs and then knocked out Bonds and Co.
"Somewhere, Gene Autry is smiling right now," commissioner Bud Selig said as he presented the trophy.
Owned by The Walt Disney Co., the Angels are still for sale. Before then, though, they can certainly travel the three miles or so to Disneyland to enjoy this most improbable championship.
Anaheim and the Giants combined for a record 85 runs and 21 homers.
The game might have been the last for Baker with the Giants. There are growing indications he'll soon leave, possibly to take over the Chicago Cubs or Seattle.
Tears streamed down the face of Darren Baker, the 3-year-old bat boy son of the Giants' manager, as he was carried from the dugout by his father.
Anderson doubled in the third to make it 4-1, and Angels fans went wild. A little too much, maybe.
David Eckstein made up for a rare baserunning mistake in the first by leading off the third with a single and Darin Erstad also singled. Tim Salmon came up and Hernandez cost himself, hitting the Angels star in the right hand.
No outs, bases loaded. The at-bat of a lifetime for Anderson, drafted by the California Angels in 1990 and out of the postseason until this year.
Unsung despite a stellar career, Anderson got the hit that will put him in highlight reels for a long time, sending a line drive into the right-field corner that easily scored all three runners.
As Reggie Sanders tried to corral the ball along the low wall, an Anaheim fan got into the act, bopping the right fielder on the back with a pair of red ThunderStix. There was no interference called, properly, although two security guards were soon standing in the area when Hernandez, who lost for the second time in the Series, was pulled.
Hernandez seemed uncomfortable from the start, constantly pawing at the mound while trying to find his control. He looked nothing like the MVP of the 1997 World Series for Florida and instead resembled the pitcher who tied for the NL lead in losses this season, which he did with 16.
A surprising lapse by Eckstein, who took off Anderson's liner to center field and was doubled off, enabled Hernandez to overcome two walks in the first.
Hernandez was not so lucky the next inning when he walked Scott Spiezio with two outs and Bengie Molina followed with a double that tied it at 1.
Molina added another double, and the hits were his way of honoring his father who was faraway. Earlier Sunday, former amateur outfielder Benjamin Molina Santana was in Puerto Rico, where he was inducted into the island's hall of fame.
The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the second on singles by Benito Santiago and J.T. Snow and a sacrifice fly by Sanders.
Notes: Goodwin's strikeout left Giants pinch-hitters at 0-for-16 in the postseason. ... The last rookie to start Game 7 in the Series was Jaret Wright of Cleveland in 1997. He got a no-decision in the Indians' 3-2 loss in 11 innings at Florida. ... Salmon stayed in the game after being hit, but did not look great in grounding out his next time up.