It can finally be said. The Giants are world champions.
The road to becoming World Series Champions was definitely not easy for the Giants in their San Francisco history. Barry Bonds couldn't do it. Willie Mays couldn't do it. Jeff Kent couldn't do it nor could Willie McCovey. The Giants even had a 5-0 lead in Game 6, their potential clinching game, of the 2002 World Series and could not get it done.
Who would be the heroes to stand up to this seeming impossible task of winning a world championship?
Hero number 1. A 21-year old rookie left-hander Madison Bumgarner. All he did was pitch eighth shut-out innings in Game 4 of the World Series. Hero number 2. An aging veteran who was ousted from his starting role earlier in the season. Although he was a post-season hero in 1997 for the Florida Marlins, he was pushed aside to the bench. Who is this mystery person? Edgar Renteria. All he did was hit the game-winning home run in Game 5 of the World Series. Hero number 3. He's a freak, he's young, and he's a two-time Cy Young winner. He's none other than the freaky franchise, Tim Lincecum. His feat? He just pitched eight strong innings in the clinching game of the World Series to bring his team home the title.
One could go on and on about the heroes in this band of misfits known as the San Francisco Giants. To name all of them would make this blog entry longer than The Bible. The Giants exemplified what it means to be part of a team, and all 25 men on the post-season roster did something to make their mark on this magical 2010 San Francisco Giants season.
This season of destiny for the Giants ended with Game 5 of the World Series. Facing Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum gave arguably his best effort as a San Francisco Giant, pitching eight innings of one-run baseball, striking out 10. His 10 strikeouts ties a record for a World Series-clinching game. The last person to have 10 strikeouts in such a game was Bob Gibson in 1967.
Until the seventh inning, Cliff Lee baffled the Giants. The Giants mustered a threat against Lee in the top of the sixth inning after Sanchez singled with two outs, but Buster Posey hit a deep fly ball that was tracked down at the wall by the right fielder Nelson Cruz. It didn't seem like it was the Giants' night.
Or so it seemed.
In the seventh inning, the score was still deadlocked in a scoreless tie. Cody Ross led off the inning with a lead-off single. Juan Uribe followed with another single. Aubrey Huff came up next and shocked everyone by laying down a perfect sacrifice bunt. With one out, then came up the struggling Pat Burrell, who had no hits in the World Series. Burrell's struggles continued, as he struck out. With 2 outs and runners at second and third, a misfit, Edgar Renteria, came to the plate. With Giants fans thinking yet another excellent scoring opportunity would be squandered, Renteria marked himself in Giants history, as he belted a 2-0 fastball over the fence in left-center field. Just like that, the Giants had a 3-0 lead. At the time, the Giants were just nine outs away from the title.
The Rangers got to Tim Lincecum for a run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a one-out Nelson Cruz home run. With the score 3-1, would this be another late-inning collapse on the road in a World Series clinching game a la 2002?
Not if Lincecum or Wilson had anything to say about it.
After Lincecum retired the side in order in the eighth inning, Giants' closer Brian Wilson was summoned in for what the Giants hoped would be their final ninth inning of the year. With the Giants three outs away from their first San Francisco World Championships, Wilson was unfazed. The first batter Wilson faced, Josh Hamilton, struck out looking on a high fastball. ONE out. The next batter, Vladimir Guerrero, grounded out to shortstop. TWO outs. With the Giants one more out away from clinching the title, up stepped Nelson Cruz. Cruz worked the count to 3-2, but Wilson threw a pitch down the middle. Cruz could not catch up to it, as he swung and missed. THREE outs.
The Giants were world champions.
Suddenly, 1962, 1989, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2004 doesn't hurt so bad anymore.