Monday, October 21, 2002

Sanders shines on Series' stage

Ex-Red homers in first two games

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ANAHEIM, Calif. - Maybe Reggie Sanders needs the biggest stage, not just a big one. For all his postseason woes, Sanders has been good in the World Series.

        He went 3-for-4 with a home run Saturday night in San Francisco's 4-3 Game 1 victory over the Anaheim Angels. Sunday night, Sanders hit a three-run homer off Kevin Appier to begin his team's comeback, which fell short in a 11-10 loss.

        Last year with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sanders hit .304 and scored six runs in seven Series games. That gave him a .346 Series average entering Game 2.

        But in Divisional and League Championship Series play, Sanders is hitting .165 in 103 at-bats. His woes began in 1995, when he went 4-for-29 (.138) in seven games with the Reds.

        The Giants are unconcerned by Sanders' past. They just want him to play well for this series.

        “Reggie is a big part of our offense and defense and speed,” San Francisco manager Dusty Baker said. “It's very important. We all know Reggie is hopefully going to be a big determining factor in the World Series.”

        Sanders, the Giants' right fielder, thought the break between the National League Championship Series and the World Series helped.

        “I felt extremely well (for Game 1),” Sanders said. “Those four days off at home and the day Dusty gave me off (in the NLCS) gave me a chance to work on what I needed to work on. (Game 1) was a testament to that. I saw the ball extremely well. It's just a matter of getting into good hitting position and going from there.”

        Sanders was one of the last pieces added to Arizona's puzzle last year and one of the last added to San Francisco's this year.

        Sanders hit .263 with 33 home runs and 90 RBI last year. Despite that, Arizona let him go as a free agent, and the Giants were able to sign Sanders for $1.75 million.

        He responded by hitting .250 with 23 home runs and 85 RBI.

        “Here's a guy that hit 20 home runs and drove in 85 runs for us,” Baker said. “He was our third-highest run producer, which is a big man in your lineup. So it's very important to get Reggie back on track.”


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