ARLINGTON, Texas – 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.
Tim Lincecum, Edgar Renteria and the Giants won the World Series on Monday night, beating the Texas Rangers 3-1 in a tense Game 5 and taking the trophy 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. So much for a franchise that never quite got it done in October despite the likes of baseball giants Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and Juan Marichal.
“This buried a lot of bones – ’62, ’89, 2002,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said, ticking off losing Series appearances. “This group deserved it, faithful from the beginning. We’re proud and humbled by the achievement.”
Lincecum outdueled Cliff Lee in an every-pitch-matters matchup that was scoreless until Renteria earned the Series MVP award by hitting a stunning three-run homer with two outs in the seventh inning. Nelson Cruz homered in the bottom half for Texas, but Lincecum returned to his wicked self to preserve the lead.
Lincecum won this game of Texas Hold ’em, beating Lee for the second time in a week. The two-time N.L. Cy Young winner gave up three hits over eight innings and struck out 10.
Brian Wilson closed for a save, completing a surprising romp through the postseason for a pitching-rich team that waited until the final day to clinch a playoff spot.
Manager Bruce Bochy enjoys calling his Giants a ragtag bunch. Maybe it fits Renteria, Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez. Cut loose by other clubs, they all wound up in San Francisco.
But the foundation of this team – for now, for the foreseeable future – is totally home grown, built on a deep, talented and young rotation, rookie catcher Buster Posey with huge star potential and their bearded closer.
“They did all right,” 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.”
Renteria reprised his role of postseason star. His 11th-inning single ended Game 7 of the 1997 World Series and lifted Florida over Cleveland. Forget that he made the last out in the 2004 Series that finished Boston’s sweep of St. Louis – this journeyman’s path led to another title, helped by his go-ahead home run in Game 2.
“It was a tough year for me,” the oft-injured shortstop said. “I told myself to keep working hard and keep in shape because something is going to be good this year.”
A team seemingly free of egos did everything right to take the lead. Ross, the surprising MVP of the N.L. championship series, hit a leadoff single and Juan Uribe followed with another hit up the middle.
That put a runner at second 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.
Texas hit just .190 in the five games and was outscored 29-12.
“They beat us soundly,” Texas boss Ron Washington said. “They deserve it.”
The Giants won their sixth title overall, joining Christy Mathewson, Mel Ott and John McGraw as champs, and tying them for third with the Red Sox behind the Yankees (27) and Cardinals (10).
Giants 3, Rangers 1
E—Moreland (1). LOB—San Francisco 4, Texas 4. HR—Renteria (2), off Cl.Lee; N.Cruz (1), off Lincecum. RBIs—Renteria 3 (6), N.Cruz (3). S—A.Huff. GIDP—Renteria. DP—Texas 1 (Andrus, Kinsler, Moreland).
|Lincecum W, 2-0||8||3||1||1||2||10||101||3.29|
|Br.Wilson S, 1-1||1||0||0||0||0||2||11||0.00|
|Cl.Lee L, 0-2||7||6||3||3||0||6||95||6.94|
T—2:32. A—52,045 (49,170).