Monday, October 29, 2012

World Series Game 4: Giants win in 10th

The San Francisco Giants won the 2012 World Series for their 2nd championship since moving to SF in 1958.  They have been the most dominant team of the last 3 years, but they're still 2 for 5 all time in World Series appearances, having lost in '62, '89 and '02.  Apparently they did win another 5 as the NY Giants previously, but those don't count for SF fans.  For us, these two championships were our first.  Hopefully not our last.  But they're our everything.

Starting this 4th game, it looked as if Detroit wasn't even going to put up a real fight.  Since 20-23 teams to be in a 0-3 World Series hole didn't even make it to a Game 5, history was on our side as well.  The game seemed to start just as the others did.  Cain capably handled Tiger hitters in the 1st two innings.  Meanwhile, Pence was involved in starting the Giants' scoring for the 3rd straight game, this time with a ground rule double.  Belt tripled to bring him home for an early 1-0 lead.

Then the horrific happened.  Detroit's triple crown winner woke from his slumber and pounded Cain's 1-1 pitch to right for a 2 run HR.  This was the worst case scenario.  We did not want Tigers' bats to find any life, especially with Verlander set to pitch in Game 5.  Detroit had the lead for the first time all series.  How would we respond?

Buster Posey did, finally making his mark offensively in the 6th inning with a 2 run HR of his own.  He had been struggling this series, but we will remember this as his 2nd homer in a series clincher this postseason.  (His grandslam in Game 5 vs the Reds will never be forgotten).

If SF didn't know it before, when Delmon Young hit the Tigers' 2nd HR off Cain to tie the game, it was clear Detroit wasn't going away easily.  Cain recovered to retire the side in a solid 7th, then gave way to Jeremy Affeldt.

Affleldt was the dominant pitcher on the night, halting all Tigers' momentum by striking out the heart of their order in a row - Cabrera, Fielder, Young, Dirks - getting the Giants through the 8th and 9th innings.

It was top of the 10th, when Bochy's choice for DH, Ryan Theriot singled to center.  UCLA alum and standout SS, Crawford, sacrificed him over to 2nd.  After Pagan's strikeout, here came NLCS hero, Scutaro.  Marco looked as calm as could be, patiently worked a 0-1 count to a 3-1, then ripped a fastball to center.  Theriot flew home for the most awkward, unnecessary, yet beautiful slide one could ever see.

Sergio Romo struck out all 3 Tiger hitters to finish it off.  Cabrera, who might be the best hitter in baseball, left the bat on his shoulder looking for Romo's signature slider, while a 89mph fastball drifted across the center of the plate.  And it was over.

Matt Cain didn't get the official W, but he started all 3 of SF's postseason series clinchers - Game 5 vs Reds, Game 7 vs Cardinals and now Game 4 vs Tigers.  Add to the fact that he threw a perfect game this year, then started and won the All-Star game which gave SF the homefield advantage in the World Series, you could say that this is the best season of his career.

Buster Posey's ability to call great games, in tune with his pitching aces was as big as factor to the Giants' championship as anything.  But I'm glad the eventual NL MVP contributed with a critical HR in the clincher, just when we needed it most.

Lastly, Scutaro wasn't as hot as he was in the NLCS, but we all expected him to come through with Theriot there at 2nd.

And then for the 2nd time in 3 years (and the 2nd time in the 54 year history of baseball in SF), the Giants are champions of the world.

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