Giants Win the World Series
The prize that eluded Willie and Barry at long last belongs to the San Francisco Giants, thanks to a band of self-described castoffs and misfits and their shaggy-haired ace. The Giants won the World Series, beating the Texas Rangers 3-1 in a tense Game 5 and taking the trophy home to the city by the Bay for the first time.
It was an overdue victory – the Giants last wore the crown in 1954, four years before they moved west, despite the likes of baseball giants Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and Juan Marichal. Lincecum outdueled Cliff Lee in an every-pitch-matters matchup that was scoreless until Renteria hit a stunning three-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning. Nelson Cruz homered in the bottom half, but Lincecum preserved the lead.
Manager Bruce Bochy enjoys calling his Giants a ragtag bunch. Maybe Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez fit that description. But the foundation of this club – for now, for the foreseeable future – is totally home grown, built on a deep, talented and young rotation, a rookie catcher with huge star potential and their bearded closer.
A team seemingly free of egos did everything right to take the lead. Ross, the suprising MVP of the NL championship series, stayed square and hit a leadoff single and Juan Uribe followed with another hit up the middle. That put a runner at second base for the first time in the game and brought up Huff, who led the Giants in home runs this year. So what did he do? He expertly put down the first sacrifice bunt of his career. Lee struck out Pat Burrell to keep the runners put, but Ross began hopping home as soon as Renteria connected, sending a drive that kept sailing and landed over the left-center field wall.
And just like that, all the Giants’ past troubles seemed like ancient history. The Giants won their previous title when they played in New York at the Polo Grounds. That’s where Mays raced back for perhaps the most famous catch of all time.
In the Year of the Pitcher, the World Series proved the oldest adage in the game: Good pitching stops good hitting, every time. Lincecum and the team with the best ERA in the big leagues completely shut down Josh Hamilton and the club with the majors’ top batting average.
The Giants earned their sixth title overall, joining the likes of Christy Mathewson, Mel Ott and John McGraw as champs, and tying them for third with the Red Sox by the Yankees (27) and Cardinals (10). They also helped ease the gloating that blew from across the Bay, where the Oakland Athletics won three straight crowns in the mid-1970s and swept the Giants in the earthquake-interrupted 1989 Series.
San Francisco had come close before. Future Hall of Famers Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Mays and Marichal lost to the Yankees 1-0 in Game 7 in 1962. In 2002, Bonds & Co. led the Angels 5-0 in the seventh inning of Game 6 before letting that edge and Game 7 slip away.
Many years ago, one swing of the bat prompted a call that resonates throughout Giants history and beyond.
”The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” announcer Russ Hodges shouted over and over after Bobby Thomson launched ”The Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in 1951.