It’s a good thing the Giants signed Pablo Sandoval through his arbitration years. Otherwise, his representation would do a little name dropping at the Panda’s hearing.
As in Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols … and Pablo Sandoval.
The Panda became the fourth player in World Series history to hit three home runs in a game.
In one way, the Panda is in a class by himself. Sandoval became the first player to hit home runs in his first three plate appearances of a World Series game.
Sandoval came up with two outs in the first inning. He fell behind 0-2 to Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Verlander’s third pitch was a letter-high fastball that Sandoval hammered over the center-field fence 410 feet away.
In the third inning, Sandoval came up after the Giants had scored a run on an Angel Pagan double off the third base bag and a single by Marco Scutaro (yet again). This time, Sandoval worked ahead on the count 2-0, drawing a visit to the mound from Tigers’ pitching coach Jeff Jones (who I loved in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, by the way). On Verlander’s next pitch, a fastball on the outer half of the plate, Sandoval went the opposite way, smacking the ball over the left-field run for a two-run shot and a 4-0 lead. The shot drew a “wow” from Verlander.
In the fifth, Sandoval came up with one out against reliever Al Alburquerque. Sandoval threw his bat after swinging and missing on the first pitch. When the bat landed near the Tigers’ dugout, it broke the handle. The Panda fetched another bat, and after a ball in the dirt, he served the ball deep over the center-field wall.
Sandoval came up once more in the game and simply lined a single to center off Jose Valverde, ending a 4-for-4 night.
To look at Sandoval’s night another way: Last year, the Cardinals’ David Freese was the World Series MVP with 8 hits, 4 runs, 1 HR and 7 RBI for the series. On Wednesday night, Sandoval had 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 HR and 4 RBI.
The last three times a player had a three-homer game, his team went on to win the World Series. Ruth’s Yankees beat the Cardinals in 4 in 1928, Jackson’s Yankees beat the Dodgers in 6 in 1977 and Pujols’ Cardinals beat the Rangers in 7 in 2011.
Here’s a look at other three-homer games in the World Series.
1926 Game 4: Yankees 10, Cardinals 5
Oct. 6, 1926, at Sportsman Park, St. Louis
Ruth went 3 for 3 with two walks. He hit a solo off in the first and a solo in the third against Flint Rhem and a two-run shot in the sixth off Hi Bell.
1928 Game 4: Yankees 7, Cardinals 3
Oct. 9, 1928 at Sporstman Park, St. Louis
Ruth went 3 for 5. He hit solo homers off Bill Sherdel in the fourth and seventh innings and another solo off Pete Alexander in the eighth.
1977 Game 6: Yankees 8, Dodgers 4
Oct. 18, 1977, at Yankee Stadium
Jackson went 3 for 3 with one walk. He hit a two-run shot off Burt Hooton in the fourth inning, a two-run homer off Elias Sosa in the fifth and a solo shot off Charlie Hough in the eighth.
2011 Game 3: Cardinals 16, Rangers 7
Oct. 22, 2011, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Pujols went 5 for 6 with two singles. He hit all three of his homers off relievers — a three-run shot off Alexi Ogando in the sixth inning, a two-run homer off Mike Gonzalez in the seventh and a solo shot off Darren Oliver in the ninth.
Last Friday, prior to Game 5 of the National League championship series, someone asked me if I was confident with Barry Zito on the mound vs. the Cardinals.
I responded that no Giants fan is ever confident with Zito on the mound.
That’s because you just never seem to know which Zito is going to show up: the one who keeps hitters off-balanced or the one who walks in runs.
So to make Giants fans feel better about this Barry Zito vs. Justin Verlander matchup in Game 1 of the World Series, we came up with seven good reasons why you should feel good about Barry Zito.
NO. 1: We’ll start with the obvious one. The Giants have won their last 13 games when Zito has started on the mound.
NO. 2: It’s true that the Giants have won each of Zito’s last 13 starts sometimes in spite of Zito — he has a 3.56 ERA over that stretch. But since Sept. 9, he is 6-0 with a 2.57 ERA.
NO. 3: Against teams that advanced to the postseason this year (Reds, Cardinals, Braves, Rangers and A’s), Zito was 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts.
NO. 4: Zito has 2.96 ERA in 9 postseason starts. It would be much less if we took out Zito’s lone postseason start vs. Detroit (in 2006).
NO. 5: The Giants score runs when Zito pitches. After giving Zito 3.7, 3.0 and 3.5 runs of support per start in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Giants gave Zito 4.8 runs of support in 2012. During the 13 game win streak in Zito starts, the Giants have averaged 6.23 runs.
NO. 6: Zito’s last start against the Tigers in 2011, he gave up no runs on five hits in six innings of work. The Giants won that game 15-3 over Max Scherzer. Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval homered in that game. To put the game into context, Zito opened his season by injuring his ankle in his third start of the season in Arizona. He then missed the next 2.5 months. Actually, he was hurt the next six weeks then he spent nearly a month in Fresno on a rehab stint after Ryan Vogelsong had seized Zito’s spot in the rotation. But the Jonathan Sanchez imploded, so Zito came off the DL. He gave up 2 runs in 7 innings vs. the Cubs, then the start in Detroit, then gave up one run in eight innings vs. the Padres. Then Zito’s season went to heck and he didn’t make another start after July 31.
NO. 7: In Justin Verlander, the Giants are facing a pitcher with an ERA of 0.74 in his three previous postseason starts. In 2010, the Giants faced Texas’ Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the World Series. Coming into that game, Lee had an ERA of 0.75 in his three previous postseason starts that year. The Giants jumped on Lee for 7 runs (6 earned) in 4 2/3 innings en route to an 11-7 win.
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Well, now that you understand the history, you can get a better picture of
I thought I could go into Monday’s night game somewhat relaxed. I was very
confident in the Giants’ chances in a potential Game 6 in San Francisco with
Matt Cain on the mound. Getting Sunday’s win was the key one.
Yet, as Game 5 moved deeper and deeper with no score, I began to twist on
During the long breaks between innings, I would get up and do something –
pick up by son’s toys on the floor, fold laundry, wash the dinner dishes. My
wife asked why I was doing things that are the kids’ responsibility. But I had
to do SOMETHING.
When the Giants took a 3-1 lead into the ninth, I began twisting this red
pillow case that I had started to fold – way back in the second inning – but now
was just holding onto. My wife asked if it was my security blanket.
My daughter, 13, came back into the room after getting herself ready for
school the next day. She took one look at me and asked “Are we still winning?”
Before I could answer her, the game came back from commercial. She looked
at the TV and, with a bit of surprise and glee, said “Oh, we’re up 3-1 … in
the ninth! We’re going to win it!”
I just said “We need three more outs.”
I began to think a little about how I might react when the Giants won it
all. But before I could complete that thought, doubt crept back in. No, I
stopped myself. As long as Wilson keeps runners on base, the Rangers can’t hurt
us with one swing.
You see, after Game 1, the only way the Rangers scored off the Giants was
via the home run. So if Wilson keeps the bases clear, there’s nothing to worry
When Josh Hamilton took that called third strike, the umpire’s call was so
deliberate that I jumped out of my chair and shouted “No! You’re out of there!”
It made my daughter jump. My wife, who had left the room for a moment,
thought something bad had happened.
Then Vlad Guerrero quickly grounds out and suddenly we’re one out away.
Wilson quickly gets ahead of Nelson Cruz 0-1. Then a ball. Then another
strike, a high fastball that Cruz was late on.
One strike away.
Next pitch: Away, Ball 2. Then another one, low and away, Ball 3. Full.
Then came the full-count pitch. Instead of a fastball, Cruz got a high
cutter. Swing and a miss! I jumped up and yell: “YEAH!!!!”
It startled my daughter again, who then realized what happened. She then
raised her arms and went “wooooooooo!” I hugged her. Then my son, 5, came out
to see what happened. My daughter said “Giants win!” My son goes “woohoo!” And
I gave him a high-five and a hug.
Then the phone rang. It was my dad. A Pirates fans at heart, he had adopted
the Giants this postseason for my benefit and decided to partake in a little of
the torture. He said “If the Giants win this, I’ve got to give Timmy a call.”
And that was just the beginning. Then came texts, e-mails, posts on
facebook … from family members, friends, co-workers, former co-workers, college friends, my former
college roommate, friends I grew up with but haven’t spoken to much in 10 or 15
years – some of them even Dodger fans – all to offer their congratulations.
The whole experience was a bit overwhelming.
When it happened, there was some initial exhilaration, and then some doubt
of reality. Did this really happen? After all these years?
I wasn’t sure what it would mean to me, until all the people in my life,
both past and present, took time out of their day to let me know they knew what
it meant to me.
Thank you, all, and thank you, Giants!
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To understand what this
title means to me, you have to understand my journey as a San Francisco Giants
fan. So as I watch the victory parade on the TV, I’ll share my parade as a
Giants fan. It’s lengthy, so indulge me.
While the Giants have been
in San Francisco for more than a half century, my allegiance to the team
reaches back 37 years, to a summer day in 1973 when I attended my first
professional sporting event during Helmet Day at Candlestick.
I can remember sitting in
the upper deck at The Stick, eating a drumstick ice cream and watching little
people running around the field. I was five years old.
It was shortly after this
game that my brother, almost three years my senior, explained to me to be a
true sports fan, you had to have a favorite team. Linked to that day, to that
helmet, and to the fact that my brother rooted for the L.A. teams — Dodgers,
Rams, Lakers — the natural choice was for the San Francisco Giants.
A year later, my family
moved from Sacramento to Southern California, in the L.A. suburb of Simi
It was not easy being a
Giants fan in the heart of Dodger Country.
My dad regularly took my
brother and I to Dodger Stadium. We were even made members of the Dodger Pepsi
Fan Club, which earned you six general admission tickets to games against
low-profile teams a season, as well as a cheap Dodger windbreaker (that I never
Every time we went to Dodger
Stadium, someone would ask me “Who are you rooting for?” My reply
“Who are the Dodgers playing?”
My dad tried to get me to at
least one Dodgers-Giants game each season. I especially remember my dad taking
my brother and I out of school to attend a midweek Businessmen’s Special at The
These games rarely turned
out well for the Giants. It got so bad that I stopped wearing my Giants apparel
to the games, because I grew weary of being berated by Dodger fans in the
parking lot after the game.
And so it went. Every year,
enduring fourth-place finishes, rumors of the team being moved to Denver or
Toronto, watching All-Star games and hoping to see Jack Clark get one at-bat or
Greg Minton one inning of relief.
But by the early to
mid-1980s, things began to change, at least for me. The Giants were still not
competing for division titles, but they
were at least beating the Dodgers during games I attended. By 1986, the Giants
started winning more games than they lost.
Finally, in 1987, it
happened. A division title. I remember listening to the clinching game in San
Diego on the radio. I had to listen to the Padres broadcast because KNBR was
drowned out by a powerful Southern California station at 690 on the radio dial.
I remember Don Robinson pitching. I remember John Kruk hitting a deep ball to
the opposite field. Jeffrey Leonard making the catch at the wall, and the
Giants were NL West champions.
I remember thinking anything
that happened in the NLCS vs. the Cardinals was a bonus. I was just happy the
Giants were in the postseason. But as soon as the games started, I found myself
screaming at the TV set when something went against the Giants. My dad would
bark at me from the other room that he would turn off the TV if I couldn’t keep
my volume down. It was funny because my emotional-filled passion for sports was
inherited from him.
But after five games, the
Giants found themselves one win from the World Series. But then they went back
to St. Louis and forgot to pack their offense. The Giants were shut out in
Games 6 and 7, and the 1987 was over.
In 1988, I attended my first
Opening Day game. I got two tickets for the Giants vs. Dodgers at Dodger
Stadium, but then had trouble finding someone to go with me. So I took my
sister. Dave Dravecky beat Fernando Valenzuela. Another Giants win.
In 1989, the Giants were
driving to another division title. They were six games up on the Padres with
six games to go, and opening a three-game set at Dodger Stadium. I wanted to go
to the games and watch the Giants clinch. But responsibilities at school and as
sports editor of my college newspaper kept that from happening. The Giants got
swept, and only clinched the division after the Reds beat the Padres in extra
innings after the Giants’ third loss to LA. The Giants celebrated in the
Taking on the Cubs in the
NLCS, there was no satisfaction in simply making the playoffs. This time, the
Giants needed to get to the Series.
The thing I remember about
the 1989 postseason is that I could never seem to sit at home and watch any of
the games. Game 1 in Chicago I watched on a black-and-white TV in the newsroom
of my college newspaper. I watched Game 2 in the same way, interrupted by an
evening class that I had.
For Game 3, I was in Fresno
to attend the Fresno State-Oregon State football. My brother attended Fresno
State, and I had attended Oregon State the previous school year. I listened to
the game while sitting in the stands at Bulldog Stadium, while catching
glimpses from a portable TV being held by a fan sitting in front of me.
For Game 4, I had to work at
the part-time job I had at an ice cream shop. I hooked up a TV in the back, and
would run back between scooping ice cream to check on the game.
Game 5, I was back at
college, back at the student paper, trying to get out a sports section while
following the action. Late in the game, I headed down to the campus radio
station where they had a color TV and watched Will Clark lace a two-run single
off Mitch Williams. With that, the Giants were in the World Series.
I went into the 1989 World
Series with no illusions that the Giants would beat the powerful A’s. I was
hoping they could steal some games, and maybe catch some breaks.
For Game 1, I was in
Portland, Ore., to cover the Cal State Northridge-Portland State football game
for my college paper. Radio reception was impossible in Civic Stadium, with its
concrete roof over the grandstands. The PA announcer would give updates from
the Series game, but the sound system at Civic was so bad it sounded as if the
updates were being given by Charlie Brown’s teacher. It wasn’t until after the
football game ended, and I left the stadium that I learned that the Giants had
During Game 2, I had a
flight home to Southern California to catch. As luck would have it, I had to
make a connection in San Francisco. So I walked into a bar at the airport and
watched as the Giants scored their first run of the season, and cheer went up
in the bar. Then the A’s got out of the inning, and cheer went up in the bar.
“What the…?” was my reaction, until I remember the Giants were
playing Oakland. I got on my flight to Burbank, got off the plane in time to
hear the final out, and the Giants had lost 5-1.
The off day between Games 2
and 3 was my birthday. But there wasn’t any celebration. I had contracted food
poisoning from something I ate on the flight home, and spent the day violently
ill. But after taking a second day off from school and feeling better, I
thought at least I would be able to sit at home and watch a Giants game for the
first time in the postseason.
The pre-game show started,
then suddenly cut out. I looked over to my father and asked “Did he say
‘earthquake’?” Then I looked over at the weight on the cuckoo clock in our
living and it was swaying slowly. Nearly 400 miles away, I knew that earthquake
was a big one.
When TV reception came back,
there were reports of pancaked freeways, a collapsed section of the Bay Bridge
and fires in the Mission district. But my thoughts were singular: “Yes,
but are they going to play the game?”
Of course, they didn’t. And
the Series would be tabled for more than a week. There was talk of moving the
games to Southern California (a great idea, I thought) or even cancelling it
all together (even better idea).
But 10 days later, the
series started again. I had to cover a high school football game for the LA
Times that night. I walked the sideline, listening to the game on a transistor
radio as things went from bad to worse for the Giants.
The next night, I was at Cal
State Northridge home game, again with my radio, hoping against hope that the
Giants could win one game. They didn’t.
In the early 1990s, I had
relocated to the Pacific Northwest and things weren’t looking good for the
Giants. There was serious talk about the team moving to St. Petersburg. But
then a group led by Peter Magowan stepped and saved the Giants for San
Then came even more big
news. Barry Bonds had just signed the biggest free-agent contract in history
… with the Giants. The Giants?!? I never saw it coming and could hardly
believe it. But for the next 15 seasons, Barry would be the face of the Giants,
for better or worse.
In 1993, the face looked
pretty good as the Giants were running away with the NL West. But then the San
Diego Padres traded Fred McGriff to the Braves, and Atlanta made a fierce
The Giants headed into the
final weekend with 101 wins, but no division title. And three games against the
The Giants won on Friday
thanks to a pair of homers from Barry. They won Saturday thanks to another
clutch save from Rod Beck. On Sunday, the Braves won again, meaning the Giants
needed to win to force a tiebreaker game on Monday with Atlanta. With Bill
Swift set to pitch that game, I liked our chances. But first, they needed one
more win in LA.
But rookie Solomon Torres
wasn’t up to the task and things quickly deteriorated. Disappointment was
compounded by the glee the Dodgers displayed in ending the Giants’ season.
Then came the strike and
more Giants struggles. But by 1997, the Giants were back in the playoffs,
taking on the Marlins in their fifth year of existence. The Giants lost two
games in Florida on the Marlins’ final at-bat, then lost Game 3 in San
Francisco, and that was that.
The 2000 season brought a
new ballpark, Pacific Bell Park. The Giants lost their first game in the new
home — to the Dodgers — but rebounded to win the NL West again. Back in the
playoffs, the Giants opened with a win over the Mets.
In Game 2, JT Snow had a
huge 3-run home run in the ninth to push the game to extra innings, where
Edgardo Alfonso’s home run gave the Mets the win.
In Game 3, it was Benny
Agbayani’s home run in the 13th that beat the Giants. In Game 4, the Giants
were limited to one hit by Bobby Jones, of all people.
The 2001 season brought
Barry Bonds’ chase for the single-season home run record. But his 73 home runs
couldn’t get the Giants in the playoffs as they were eliminated in the final
But a late-season push in
2002 got the Giants back into the playoffs as the wild-card. I remember just
hoping for two things: 1) the Giants could be the Braves so I wouldn’t have to
hear how Dusty Baker couldn’t win in the playoffs; 2) Barry hit, so I didn’t
have to hear how Bonds flops in the postseason. I got both as the Giants beat
the Braves in 5.
The NLCS against the
Cardinals started out well, with the Giants winning two in St. Louis. Now,
suddenly the World Series was within reach. Benito Santiago hit a huge home run
in the eighth inning of Game 4 after the Cardinals walked Bonds (again!). Then
in Game 5, there was Kenny Lofton singling home David Bell from second in the
bottom of the ninth for the pennant. I can remember yelling at the TV
“Run! David! Run!” And just like that, the Giants were back in the Series.
I went into the Series
thinking the Giants could beat the Angels. But my first goal was for the Giants
to win a game — one game — after watching get swept in 1989. The Giants got
that win in Game 1. But after losing in Games 2 and 3, I started to think they
wouldn’t win the Series.
But Kirk Rueter had a big
game in Game 4, and then Giants poured it on in Game 5. Just like that, the
Giants were one win from a World Series title.
On the night of Game 6, my
wife and I had a standing invitation for dinner at the house of my church’s
pastor. I wanted to cancel, but my pastor and his wife told us to come over and
we’d all watch the game together. Greaaaaaaat.
But things started out well
enough for the Giants. Shawon Dunston homered. Kenny Lofton doubled, stole
third and scored on a wild pitch. Barry took Angels heralded rookie Francisco
Rodriguez deep. In the seventh, Jeff Kent singled home another run and the
Giants were 5-0.
Russ Ortiz was sailing,
limited the Angels to a pair of singles. But in the seventh, Ortiz gave up
back-to-back one-out singles, and Dusty Baker took Ortiz out after 98 pitches.
Felix Rodriguez came in to
face Scott Spiezio, who kept fouling off pitch after pitch, working the count
full. Then he got pitch he could pull and dropped into the seats in right just
inside the foul pole and beyond the reach of RF Reggie Sanders. That made it
In the eighth, Tim Worrell
came in and could not get anyone out. It started with a home run to Darin
Erstad. Then a single to Tim Salmon, a single to Garret Anderson on a flare to
left. And error by Barry Bonds allowed runners to move to second and third.
Robb Nen was called on to face Troy Glaus. And even though Glaus had been the
Angels biggest hitter in the series and there was an open base, the Giants
pitched to him. Glaus raked a double to left-center and the Angels led 6-5.
And there I was in my pastor’s house. I couldn’t swear (though I wanted to). I couldn’t throw something across the room (though I wanted to). I just sat and simmered, muttering “Why were we even pitching to him?”
After the game was over, I quietly got up and went to the bathroom. And sat for a couple of minutes. When I emerged, Melanie, the pastor’s wife, said “I’m impressed, Tim. If that had been the Padres, Scott (the pastor) would have been yelling and screaming.” (My pastor grew up in San Diego).
My wife said “I’m actually surprised Tim didn’t.”
I did my best to be pleasant the rest of the evening. When I got home, I took the videotape that I was using to record the game out of the VCR (yeah, 2002 was a long time ago), and threw it in the garbage. I didn’t sleep well that night.
The next day, Game 7 went bad quickly. The
Giants got a run in the second, but the Angels answered back with one of their
own. Then Livan Hernandez couldn’t get anyone out in the third, giving up a
single, single, hitting Tim Salmon with a pitch, then giving up a
bases-clearing double to Anderson and that was
enough. The Angels won 4-1.
I watched Game 7 at my brother’s house. You know, the Dodger fan. When it was over, I looked over at my niece, who was almost 3 at the time, and just said “Uncle Tim needs a hug.”
In the offseason, Dusty
Baker left. Jeff Kent left. But the Giants made good moves to replace them and
went on to win 100 games in 2003.
Again, the Giants faced the
Marlins. Jason Schmidt pitched the Giants to a Game 1 win, but the Marlins
bounced back to take Game 2. In Florida, the Giants pushed across a run in the
top of the 11th. But in the bottom of the 11th, sure-handed Jose Cruz Jr.
dropped a pop fly by Jeff Conine, setting the stage for Ivan Rodriguez’s
two-out, two-run single to win it, 3-2.
In Game 4, the Giants fell
behind 5-1, but scored four in the sixth to tie. But the Marlins tallied two in
the eight to take a 7-5 lead. The Giants scraped across a run in the ninth. But
then JT Snow was thrown out at the plate to end the series.
That was the last postseason
appearance until this season as the team plunged over the next few years. They
won 91 games in 2004, but were eliminated by the Dodgers on the final weekend.
Then the losses mounted: 87 in 2005, 85 in 2006, 91 in 2007 when Barry Bonds
completed his pursuit of the all-time home run record. Then the Giants turned
the page and began building for the future: 72-90 in 2008, and 88-74 in 2009.
That brings us to this
Here’s a sample of some of the best post-game comments by the Giants.
Fox’s Chris Rose, handing the World Series trophy to Tim Lincecum, asked: “How does that look?”
This lineup the San Francisco Giants put out in Game 5 — and all season long — will not go down as the one of the greatest lineup in history, not even Giants history.
But this lineup was not about one guy. It was about every guy in the lineup. It was a lineup that you just waited for someone to do something, because you knew the pitching was going to keep it close.
Take a look at this lineup, where they came from:
1, ANDRES TORRES, RF: He’s 32 years old. A journeyman outfielder. Drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in 1998; played parts of 2002-03 with the Tigers; when the Tigers sent him to the minors in April 2004, he opted for free agency; signed with White Sox, played in minors in 2004; signed with Rangers, played in minors and briefly with Rangers in 2005; played in minors for Twins, Tigers and Cubs the next three season; signed with Giants in 2009; became a full-time starter in late April of 2010.
2, FREDDY SANCHEZ, 2B: Acquired in a trade with the Pirates in 2009; appeared to be bust when he could not stay healthy late in 2009; signed a two-year deal in offseason, but started 2010 on the DL; made his 2010 debut on May 19.
3, BUSTER POSEY, C: Came to spring training in 2010 with thoughts of making the big club; was sent to Triple-A Fresno because Giants wanted him to work on catching skills; made his 2010 debut on May 29; played first month in majors mostly at 1B; became everyday catcher when Bengie Molina was traded to Texas in early July.
4, CODY ROSS, LF: Placed on revocable waivers by Marlins in August; Giants, now heavy on OFs after recently adding Jose Guillen, put a claim on Ross, largely to keep rival Padres from claiming him; spent most of first month with SF as late-game defensive replacment; got more starts toward the end of September; started every postseason game.
5, JUAN URIBE, SS: Went into last offseason looking for multi-year deal; when he didn’t get one, re-signed with Giants for one year; expected to fill utility back-up role behind 2B Freddy Sanchez, SS Edgar Renteria, 3B Pablo Sandoval; opened season as starting 2B in place of injured Sanchez; eventually became everyday SS when Renteria was injured.
6, AUBREY HUFF, 1B: Giants went into offseason looking for left-handed power hitter to play 1B; went after Nick Johnson, who signed with Yankees; went after Adam LaRoche, who turned Giants down to sign lesser deal with Arizona; Giants sign Huff, who went on to lead team in HRs, even playing some OF when Posey got called up and played 1B.
7, PAT BURRELL, OF: Released by Tampa Bay on May 15 after 1+ unsuccessful seasons with Rays; signed to minor-league deal with Giants two weeks later; went to Fresno for a week; got called up to Giants on June 5; hit 18 HRs for Giants.
8, EDGAR RENTERIA, SS: Signed two-year deal with Giants prior to 2009. Spent two injury-filled seasons with SF; made three trips to DL during 2010 season; played only once in Giants’ final 14 games of the regular-season; started only 8 games after August 10; suffered torn biceps tendon in Game 2 of NLDS vs. Atlanta.
9, AARON ROWAND, CF: Signed five-year deal prior to 2008 season; beaned in cheek by LA’s Vicente Padilla on April 16; went on DL; hit well after initially after coming off the DL May 2, raising average to .333 on May 7; then went into tailspin; average dropped to .227 by end of May; lost starting CF job to Andres Torres; made only 12 starts after August 1, none after Sept. 16.
Compare that to the opening day lineup
1, Aaron Rowand, CF: (see above)
2, Edgar Renteria, SS: (see above)
3, Pablo Sandoval, 3B: Hit into league-high 26 DPs; hit over .300 first month of season, but didn’t have same power numbers; average began to dip by mid-May; spent most of postseason on the bench
4, Aubrey Huff, 1B: (see above)
5, Mark DeRosa, LF: Homered on opening day in Houston; average quickly dipped under .250, never rose above that; admitted in early May that surgically-repaired wrist was not right; season ended on May 8.
6, Bengie Molina, C: Re-signed with Giants in offseason after failing to get multi-year deal elsewhere; hit well out of gate; average above .300 thru mid-May; then started to dip; dropped to .250 by June 1; traded to Texas on July 1.
7, John Bowker, RF: won starting job after red-hot spring; but as in previous stints with big club, could not sustain hitting; average dropped below .200 by April 19; lost starting job; optioned to Fresno in early June shortly after team signed Pat Burrell; traded to Pirates on July 31 for Javier Lopez.
8, Juan Uribe, 2B: (See above)
It’s over. They’ve done it. And I’m still trying to make sure it’s real.
The San Francisco Giants are World Series champions.
Fifty-six years in the waiting for Giants fans, 52 years for San Francisco Giants, and 37 years for this Giants fan.
The only thing that would make this better is if I had put $100 on the Giants to win the Series back at the start of the season.
I don’t know what the odds were, but I’m pretty sure you could have got good odds on that happening back in March.
And if I had put another $50 on Edgar Renteria being the Series MVP, I’d be sitting on a pretty big winning pot.
But that’s the way it’s gone for this group. The only thing we can expect is the unexpected.
EDGAR THE MVP?!?!?
Edgar Renteria started the season hot and he was still hitting .320 on April 30 when he strained his groin. He rested the injury for five days before returning on May 6. Then he aggravated the injury and went on the 15-day DL.
The Giants activated him from the DL on May 22. On May 26, he strained his hamstring, and he went back on the DL.
He was activated on June 16, but struggled after returning from the DL.
On August 11, he landed back on the DL a left biceps strain.
He was activated on September 1, but only because rosters were expanded.
He started only seven games in September and none after Sept. 17 because of an inflamed elbow.
He played on Oct. 1 to show he was ready to be on the postseason roster. There was some talk about leaving him off the postseason reason. But there were no better options, so Renteria was put on the roster.
Then in Game 2 of the NLDS, Renteria came in as a pinch-hitter in the 10th and dropped down a bunt single. But the Giants couldn’t get him home. On the first ball put in play in the 11th was a groundout to short. On that play, Renteria suffered a torn biceps tendon. But he played on.
He started Games 2, 3, 4 and 6 of the NLCS. He started all five games at short in the World Series, delivering a key home run in Game 2, going 3 for 4 in Game 4 and then the huge three-run home run in Game 5.
Renteria became the fourth player to have the game-winning RBI in two Series clinching wins, joining — get this — Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.
Well done, Edgar.
And, of course, Renteria’s three-run blast came with two outs.
Just like the Giants have done all postseason. In the Series, 17 of 29 runs scored were with two outs.
FOX: YOU GUYS STINK!
Giants fans were flying high. Edgar Renteria just hit a 3-run homer, giving Tim Lincecum a three-run cushion.
It’s the bottom of the seventh. Nelson Cruz just homered to make 3-1 San Francisco. After a walk, the Rangers have a runner on first and one out. The Giants are seven outs away from the World Series title.
Then Fox went and did it. They threw up a graphic: World Series fact: The last team to come back from a deficit of three runs or more in the seventh inning or later: Game 6 of the 2002 World Series.
That graphic went up, and I actually averted my eyes for a moment.
After Lincecum struck out David Murphy, Joe Buck commented on that graphic, noting that “it’s not a graphic that Giants fans want to read.”
My wife, not the keenest baseball observer, wondered why Giants fans would be upset by that graphic, because the Giants were leading at the time the graphic went up. She didn’t catch that the Angels rallied against the Giants.
So she asked me to clarify. I simply mumbled “I don’t know.”
BOCHY AND A TOUCH OF TORTURE
I don’t want to be the guy who is second-guessing Bruce Bochy. The Giants manager has made all the right moves this postseason.
But when Brian Wilson came out in the ninth, I winced. Lincecum had only thrown 101 pitches at that point. He could have throw 120 or more. He had mystified Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero all night. They were the first two up in the ninth.
I agreed with Tim McCarver. I would have let Lincecum face those guys. If either got on, then go to Wilson.
And if Bochy was going to go to the pen, why not go with Javier Lopez to face Hamilton, then go to Wilson.
But Bochy called on Wilson, and what happened? Wilson set the Rangers down 1-2-3.
That was back-to-back 1-2-3 outings from Wilson in Texas.
Yeah, yeah, Wilson did push Nelson Cruz to a 3-2 count.
But then he reared back and blew it past Cruz.
Torture no more. Only Rapture!!!!!