October 29, 2012 in Sports

Giants complete World Series sweep of Tigers

Ben Walker Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

San Francisco’s Jeremy Affeldt throws during the eighth inning of Sunday night’s Game 4. The left-handed reliever out of Northwest Christian pitched two innings in the series with four strikeouts, one walk and an ERA of 0.00.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Game changer

Marco Scutaro

San Francisco second baseman drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the 10th inning, helping the Giants finish their four-game sweep.

Inside: Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval named MVP /B5

Panda named Series MVP

 Pablo Sandoval not only has baseball’s neatest nickname, Kung Fu Panda has a World Series MVP award to go along with it.

 Sandoval took home the trophy following the San Francisco Giants’ sweep of Detroit, hitting .500 with three home runs, a double and four RBIs in 16 Series at-bats.

 “It’s just an incredible moment you’re never going to forget,” he said.

 Sandoval got the Giants off to a powerful start by hitting three homers in the opener against the Tigers, becoming the fourth player to accomplish that feat in a World Series game.

 After Sandoval went deep three times in the opener, matching the Series record shared by Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols, the Giants sold 760 more of their furry panda hats, including 466 at AT&T Park during Game 2.

Associated Press

DETROIT – Smart pitching. Clutch hitting. Sharp fielding. Plus an MVP Panda.

All the right elements for a sweet World Series sweep for the San Francisco Giants.

Nearly knocked out in the playoffs time and time again, and finally pressed by the Detroit Tigers in Game 4, Pablo Sandoval and the Giants clinched their second title in three seasons Sunday night.

Marco Scutaro – who else? – delivered one more key hit this October, a go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th inning that lifted the Giants to a 4-3 win.

“Detroit probably didn’t know what it was in for,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “Our guys had a date with destiny.”

On a night of biting cold, stiff breezes and some rain, the Giants combined the most important elements of championship baseball. After three straight wins that looked relatively easy, they sealed this victory when Sergio Romo got Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to look at strike three for the final out.

“Tonight was a battle,” Giants star Buster Posey said. “And I think tonight was a fitting way for us to end it because those guys played hard. They didn’t stop, and it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Posey, the only player who was in the starting lineup when San Francisco beat Texas in the 2010 clincher, and the underdog Giants celebrated in the center of the diamond at Comerica Park.

They built toward this party all month, winning six elimination games this postseason. In the clubhouse, they hoisted the trophy, passed it around and shouted the name of each player who held it.

“World Series champions,” Giants outfielder Hunter Pence hollered.

Benched during the 2010 Series, Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, went 8 for 16, including three home runs in Game 1.

“You learn,” Sandoval said. “You learn from everything that happened in your career. … We’re working hard to enjoy this moment right now.”

Cabrera delivered the first big hit for Detroit, interrupting San Francisco’s run of dominant pitching with a two-run homer that blew over the right-field wall in the third.

Posey put the Giants ahead 3-2 with a two-run homer in the sixth and Delmon Young hit a tying home run in the bottom half.

It then became a matchup of bullpens, and the Giants prevailed.

Ryan Theriot led off the 10th with a single against Phil Coke, moved up on Brandon Crawford’s sacrifice and scored on a shallow single by Scutaro, the MVP of the N.L. championship series.

“That’s what makes it so much special, the way we did it,” Scutaro said. “We’re always against the wall and my team, it just came through first series, second series and now we sweep the Tigers.”

Romo struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th for his third save of the Series.

The Giants finished the month with seven straight wins and their seventh Series championship. They handed the Tigers their seventh straight World Series loss dating to 2006.

“Obviously, there was no doubt about it. They swept us,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “So there was certainly no bad breaks, no fluke.

“Simple, they did better than we did,” he said. “It was freaky. I would have never guessed we would have swept the Yankees and I would have never guessed the Giants would have swept us.”

The Giants combined for a 1.42 ERA, outscored the Tigers 16-6 and held them to a .159 batting average.

“I think we never found our confidence at home plate,” Cabrera said. “It was not the same game we played. We could not find our game in the World Series.”

Bristled slumping Tigers slugger Prince Fielder: “This is not about me. This is about the team.”

An N.L. team won the title for the third straight season, a run that hadn’t occurred in 30 years. Some find the streak surprising, considering the A.L.’s recent dominance in interleague play. Yet as every fan knows, the club that pitches best in the postseason usually prevails.

Until the end, the Tigers thought one big hit could shift the momentum. It was an all-too-familiar October lament – the Rangers felt the same way when the Giants throttled them in 2010, and the Tigers knew the feeling when St. Louis wiped them out in 2006.

“For one, we didn’t allow doubt to ever creep in,” Pence said. “You know, the thing that made this team so special is just playing as a team, caring for each other. We had our backs against the wall and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s not supposed to be.”

Howling winds made it feel much colder than the 44 degrees at gametime. Two wrappers blew across home plate after leadoff man Angel Pagan struck out, and fly balls played tricks in the breeze.

The Giants started with their pregame ritual. They clustered around Pence in the dugout, quickly turning into a bobbing, whooping, pulsing pack, showering themselves with sunflower seeds. A big league good-luck charm, Little League style.

“That was one of our mottos, and we went out there to enjoy every minute of it and it was hard earned. Just an incredible, incredible group of guys that fought for each other,” Pence said.

The Giants became the first N.L. team since the Big Red Machine in the mid-1970s to win two titles in a three-year span.

San Francisco ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
Pagan cf 500002.125
Scutaro 2b 412110.250
Sandoval 3b 501002.500
Arias 3b 000000
Posey c 411202.267
Pence rf 411003.286
Belt 1b 301111.077
G.Blanco lf 401002.267
Theriot dh 411001.200
B.Crawford ss 301000.250
Totals 36494213
Detroit ABRHBIBBSOAvg.
A.Jackson cf 410012.231
Berry lf 300000.000
A.Garcia ph-rf 000010.000
D.Kelly ph 100001.000
Mi.Cabrera 3b 411213.231
Fielder 1b 400002.071
D.Young dh 412102.357
Dirks rf-lf 401001.111
Jh.Peralta ss 400001.067
Infante 2b 301000.333
Worth pr-2b 000000.000
G.Laird c 400000.000
Totals 35353312
San Francisco 0100020001—490
Detroit 0020010000—350

LOB—San Francisco 5, Detroit 6. 2B—Pence (1). 3B—Belt (1). HR—Posey (1), off Scherzer; Mi.Cabrera (1), off M.Cain; D.Young (1), off M.Cain. RBIs—Scutaro (3), Posey 2 (3), Belt (1), Mi.Cabrera 2 (3), D.Young (1). CS—Belt (1). S—B.Crawford. RLSP—San Francisco 3. RISP—San Francisco 2 for 9; Detroit 1 for 1. RMU—Theriot, Berry. GIDP—Sandoval. DP—Detroit 2.

San Francisco IPHRERBBSOERA
M.Cain 7533253.86
Affeldt 12/3000140.00
S.Casilla W,1-0 1/3000000.00
Romo S,31000030.00
Detroit IPHRERBBSOERA
Scherzer 61/3733184.26
Smyly 1/3000005.40
Dotel 11/3000110.00
Coke L,0-1 2211042.70

IR-S—Smyly 1-0, Dotel 1-0. HBP—Infante. T—3:34. A—42,152 (41,255).

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