Figgins made another sparkling grab on defense and hit a tiebreaking single, and Garret Anderson had four hits and five RBI to lead the Angels over the New York Yankees 11-7 Friday night for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-5 playoff series.
The Angels, who roughed up Randy Johnson and set their postseason record with 19 hits, recovered after wasting a five-run lead. They can close out the series Saturday and earn a spot against the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS. Los Angeles lefty Jarrod Washburn is scheduled to face New York's Shawn Chacon in Game 4.
"Our team has always been able to come back against any team," Bengie Molina said. "That's just the kind of team we are."
Molina homered -- in the third inning -- for the third consecutive game and Anderson hit a first-inning, three-run shot through the raindrops as Los Angeles eventually led 5-0 and chased Johnson in the fourth. His playoff debut for the Yankees lasted only three-plus innings, the shortest of his 15 postseason starts.
"I pitch and my teammates expect us to win and for me to put us in a position to win, and I didn't do that," Johnson said. "My slider found too much of the middle of the plate. I didn't have a sharp one going down and away. Unfortunately my pitches were elevated today and I paid the price."
Sparked by Hideki Matsui's leadoff homer in the fourth, New York came back against Paul Byrd and the Angels' bullpen to go ahead 6-5 in the fifth only to quickly fall behind again as Aaron Small and Tom Gordon failed to come through.
New York, with a record payroll of $203 million, must win two consecutive games in order to continue its quest for its first World Series title since 2000. If the Yankees fail, owner George Steinbrenner could order a shake up.
"If you don't make quality pitches you can't expect good results," manager Joe Torre said. "We didn't pitch very well."
Small, 10-0 during the regular season, entered with runners at the corners in the fourth and induced a strikeout and double-play grounder, then threw a 1-2-3 fifth. But he wound up losing for the first time since New York brought him up in mid-July.
Darin Erstad and Figgins, who had been 0-for-11 in the series, had run-scoring hits for a 7-6 lead. Figgins saved two runs when he made a diving catch of Gary Sheffield's sinking liner to center for the final out of the fourth, especially impressive given the wet field.
"It's almost like you're running in a marsh or a swamp," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
The versatile Figgins also made a key play in Game 2, when he robbed Matsui with a diving grab at third base. His defense was extremely important again Friday night.
"I just had to take a chance, kill their momentum," Figgins said.
Anderson added a run-scoring single in the seventh off Gordon after Molina was hit on the left elbow by a pitch and forced from the game. Molina at first thought the elbow was broken, but X-rays were negative.
Steve Finley squeezed in an unearned run following an error by second baseman Robinson Cano, who came off the bag too soon when taking third baseman Alex Rodriguez's soft throw on a grounder, and Jose Molina and Anderson singled home runs in the eighth off Scott Proctor.
Scot Shields struck out four in two innings for the win, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the sixth when Cano flied out.
While rain was in the forecast and fell intermittently, the game was never halted. But a downpour started 20 minutes after the final out, and more wet weather is expected Saturday.
Johnson was 6-0 over his prior eight starts since Aug. 21 but left numerous pitches up and quickly was in trouble.
Anderson had been 3-for-18 against the 42-year-old left-hander, who gave up career-high 32 homers during the regular season but just one to a left-handed hitter, Toronto's Eric Hinske on April 29. Johnson had held lefties to an .074 average (4-for-54) with one extra-base hit since July 26 before Anderson reached down and drove a 1-1 pitch into the right-field bleachers.
Los Angeles made it 5-0 in the third on the two-run homer by Bengie Molina. Johnson stood in front of the mound, hands on hips, and a few moments later fans in the right-field bleachers began chanting: " Aaron Small," hoping a reliever would be brought in. An inning later, their wish was granted.
Johnson gave up consecutive hits to open the fourth, and that was enough for Torre, who pulled his ace after 62 pitches. The crowd of 56,277 booed loudly -- Johnson had said Thursday that Diamondbacks' fans in Arizona made more noise during his starts than the Yankees supporters.
During the pitching change, rain briefly started to fall more heavily, prompting the crowd to cheer. Small struck out Kennedy and induced the speedy Figgins to ground into a double play, with Cano going to his knees for a backhand stop at second and making a nifty underhand flip to Jeter.
After Matsui's homer, Jorge Posada's RBI grounder and Jeter's run-scoring chased Byrd. Jason Giambi's run-scoring single off Brendan Donnelly went through the shortstop hole vacated by the overshifted infield.
Cano's RBI double and Bernie Williams' sacrifice fly put the Yankees ahead in the fifth.
- The Yankees left Game 1 winner Mike Mussina behind in California to pitch a possible Game 5, scheduled for Sunday in Anaheim. Barring a rainout Saturday, Bartolo Colon would pitch Game 5 for the Angels.
- The series has followed the pattern of the 2002 matchup, when the Angels lost the opener before winning three in a row.