Giants win 1st World Series in 56 years
Renteria, Lincecum highlight 3-1 Game 5 victory over Rangers
Texas Rangers co-owner Chuck Greenberg is no Mark Messier.
Sure, he has more hair than Messier, but he never played professional sports and can't guarantee victories like the Hockey Hall of Famer, who said his New York Rangers would win Game 6 of the 1994 NHL Eastern Conference final and made sure of it with a third-period hat trick.
Messier and the Rangers would go on to win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.
Greenberg, on the other hand, could only watch as Tim Lincecum pitched San Francisco to its first World Series championship since 1954 on Monday night, a 3-1 triumph on the same day Greenberg told a Dallas radio station his Rangers would prevail in Game 5.
Renteria named Series MVP
Edgar Renteria put his name alongside Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra as the only players with two World Series-winning hits.
"It's unbelievable. That's life," Renteria said with joy and exhaustion in his voice after his three-run homer in the seventh inning against Texas starter Cliff Lee Monday night sent the Giants to their first World Series title since 1954.
After getting the hit that won the 1997 title for Florida and making the final out for St. Louis in Boston's 2004 win, he stunned the Rangers and their fans with his drive off Lee, unexpected pop from the No. 8 spot in the batting order that propelled San Francisco to a 3-1 victory.
A five-time all-star who has declined dramatically the past three seasons, the Giants' shortstop hit .412 (7-for-17) with a Series-high six runs batted in. He had all of three homers and 22 RBIs during an injury-filled regular season that landed the shortstop on the disabled list three times and prompted him to openly ponder retirement.
In three World Series appearances, he has compiled statistics anyone would be proud of: a .333 average (21-for-63) with five doubles, two homers and 10 RBI.
"Maybe I am more in focus. I know it's a different game because if you make a mistake you're going to pay," he said. "That's why my focus is different, my level is different, and just want to be the guy to do something."
— Associated Press
"They did all right," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I couldn't be prouder of a group. They played with heart and determination. They weren't going to be denied. My staff, they accepted their roles and had only one mission."
In a battle of aces, Lincecum outpitched veteran Cliff Lee for a second time in the Series, limiting Texas to a Nelson Cruz solo home run among three hits while striking out 10 in eight innings pitched for his fourth post-season win.
"Pretty collected. I was very poised out there. From the first inning on my adrenalin kind of just dissipated and I was able to calm down," he said.
Shortstop Edgar Renteria provided all the support Lincecum would need with a three-run home run off Lee in the top of the seventh inning.
San Francisco, which squeezed into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, outscored the Rangers —the American League's best offence in 2010 — 29-12. Seventeen of their runs were scored with two out after the Giants finished last in the majors in two-out runs batted in during the regular season.
It was an overdue victory. Willie Mays led the Giants to their previous crown in 1954, four years before they moved West. After that, they could never quite get it done despite the likes of baseball giants including Barry Bonds, Juan Marichal and Willie McCovey.
This Series proved that great pitching tops great hitting. San Francisco entered Monday's game with a 2.83 earned-run average in the first four games compared with to 6.62 by Texas pitchers. Besides Lincecum's dominance, Matt Cain sported a spotless 0.00 ERA in three post-season starts, and Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner shone.
Lincecum, looking to duplicate Bumgarner's Game 4 masterpiece — eight innings, three hits, six strikeouts in San Francisco's 4-0 win — proved to be almost as tough on the Rangers as the 21-year-old rookie southpaw.
Lincecum on his game
The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner threw 71 of his 101 pitches for strikes Monday and induced 10 groundball outs.
Lincecum retired the first eight batters he faced, set down the Rangers in order in four of his eight innings and didn't allow a runner past second base until Cruz launched his sixth career post-season home run to left field with one out in the seventh.
Lee, who allowed seven runs (six earned) over 4 2/3 innings in an 11-7 loss in the Series opener, was much better on Monday. He went pitch-for-pitch with Lincecum through six innings but gave up back-to-back singles to Cody Ross and Juan Uribe to open the seventh before slugger Aubrey Huff bunted them to second and third with his first sacrifice of the season.
The next batter, Pat Burrell, struck out for the 21st time in 41 at-bats this post-season and then watched intently as Renteria swatted a 2-0 offering from Lee for his second homer of these playoffs.
Texas became the latest Series newcomer to make a quick exit.
Houston (2005) and Colorado (2007) got swept in their first appearances, Tampa Bay (2008) stuck around for just five games. The AL champion Rangers became the first team since 1966 to get shut out twice in a World Series, with big hitters Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero and Cruz left taking half-swings or flailing wildly.
"They beat us soundly," said manager Ron Washington, whose club hit just .190 in the five games. "They deserve it."
Hamilton, the probable AL MVP, went 2-for-20 with one RBI. "We just got cold at the wrong time with the bats," he said.
San Francisco is tied with its longtime rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, for fifth-most Series titles. The Yankees lead with 27, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals (10), Oakland Athletics (9) and Boston Red Sox (7).
A ring in defeat
Texas catcher Bengie Molina left the dugout at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on the wrong end of a 3-1 score, but still came out a winner. The former San Francisco Giant will receive a World Series ring because he spent half the season on their roster.
"There's a lot of guys that I enjoyed playing with, made myself very comfortable when I was there in San Francisco," said Molina, who is pondering retirement. "I'm actually very happy for them. … I think they're enjoying right now what a special feeling it is."
Rangers manager Ron Washington might be the target of criticism over the next few days for his conservative approach on a couple of plays Monday night. Mitch Moreland singled to open the bottom of the sixth inning, setting up what many believed would be a bunt situation for Texas leadoff hitter Elvis Andrus in a scoreless game. However, the shortstop swung through a high inside pitch from Tim Lincecum and flied out to centre field.
Lincecum got the next two batters, Michael Young and Josh Hamilton, to line out and ground out, respectively.
With Texas down 3-1 In the seventh, Ian Kinsler walked with one out. The second baseman stole 15 bases this season and 31 a year ago, but Washington asked him to stay put with David Murphy and Bengie Molina due up. They both struck out to end the inning.
With files from The Associated Press