Runs seemed a constant problem. The club was built around pitching now, its attack inconsistent, unreliable, uncertain. It still worked well enough to send the Angels into the playoffs, but it was on a wet and wild Friday night at Yankee Stadium that they seemed to finally hit their stride. It was how after the Yankees climbed back to take a 6-5 lead and had Yankee Stadium absolutely rocking, the Angels almost calmly and methodically went back in front, regained control. It was how once they regained the lead, they kept pushing manager Mike Scioscia’s envelope. It was how everyone seemed to contribute, how they mixed their small ball with power, how if not perfect in the field, they still made timely and sometimes brilliant plays. “We’ve done a lot of things the last couple of games the way we have to,” Scioscia said. “I thought tonight we ran the bases very well. Ran from first to third to create some situations for us. “Steve (Finley) got a nice squeeze down for us, and in between we drove the ball from Bengie (Molina) and Garret (Anderson). “Some things came together.” Start spreading the news, these Angels finally resembled the 2002 team, the one that beat the Yankees in the division series on the way to the franchise’s first World Series title. They looked like the team that never believed it was out of a game, that always seemed to have one last rally in its pocket, one more surprise when the outcome seemed so clear. Now they are again one victory away from advancing to the American League Championship Series. One more Yankees heartbreak from a celebration that will take them to Chicago to meet the White Sox. The Angels wasted no time in announcing they would not be intimidated by either Johnson nor Yankee Stadium. After a pair of hard outs in the top of the first, they put together singles by Vladimir Guerrero and Molina before Anderson drilled a Johnson pitch deep into right-field pavilion. In the third Orlando Cabrera doubled and Molina homered for the second time in the series and it was quickly 5-0. Like New York didn’t have enough to worry about with terrorists in the subway, now the dominating Johnson – the man brought in to make a playoff difference – was made to look just like another guy. “You just don’t ever see that,” said Angels reliever Scot Shields. When the Angels opened the third with two more singles, Johnson was gone. It was his second quickest exit all season. “He just didn’t hit his spots,” said Yankees manager Joe Torre. “I don’t care how hard you throw, it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit your spots.” Yet the Angels couldn’t hold on, couldn’t make the lead hold up. After a Hideki Matsui home run, the Yankees used some small ball of their own to score four in the fourth and two more in the fifth. A light rain continued to fall and the New Yorkers seemed in their element, the Angels to be taught a little Big Apple playoff lesson. Only it was the Angels who took the Yankees to school, who found every which way to score. Hit-and-runs. Soft bloopers. Triples off the wall. Suicide squeeze plays. The Angels just kept coming, kept the pressure on and the scoreboard busy. By game’s end they had 19 hits. “We had to do something offensively if we’re going to win this series,” Scioscia said. “The one thing playoff experience has taught us, is you realize momentum can switch from one inning to the next, not just game to game. “These guys came right back and scored.” It was one game, but felt like a playoff arrival. The Angels finally appeared comfortable in their own offensive skin. A long search finally over. “I hope so,” Scioscia said. One more victory, and it’s another round. Another chance for continued self-discovery. Steve Dilbeck’s column appears in the Daily News four times a week. He can be reached at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The Angels exploded, pecked away, ran, rallied, battled. They would not bend, would not be deterred. It was simply their best victory of the year. And not just because of the stage, which was more grand than it had been all season. It was everything about the 11-7 victory over the Yankees that left them with a 2-1 lead in their division series. It was how they absolutely jumped all over Randy Johnson, the most dominant pitcher of his era, sending him to the clubhouse after three innings to a shower of boos from the home fans. NEW YORK – The search is over, the answer finally revealed. The Angels waited all season to discover who they were offensively, what kind of identity they could ultimately claim.