Former Husky Lincecum Helps Giants to World Series Title

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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 home to the city by the Bay for the first
      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. It's
November, and now new stars stand tall in San Francisco.
      "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, but Lincecum
returned to his wicked self and preserved the lead.
      Lincecum won this game of Texas Hold 'em, beating Lee for the
second time in a week. The two-time NL 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 Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez fit that
description. But the foundation of this club - for now, for the
foreseeable future - is totally home grown, built on a deep,
talented and young rotation, a rookie catcher 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
      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 NL championship series,
stayed square and hit a leadoff single and Juan Uribe followed with
another hit up the middle.
      That put a runner at second base 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.
      And just like that, all the Giants' past troubles seemed like
ancient history.
      The Giants won their previous title when they played in New York
at the Polo Grounds. That's where Mays raced back for perhaps the
most famous catch of all time.
      They moved West in 1958 and had tried ever since to escape a
sort of big league Alcatraz - the place where teams get stuck for
decades as also-rans. The Red Sox and White Sox got free, not so
the Cubs and Indians.
      So clang the cable car bells. Loudly, too. Baseball's best play
in the Bay.
      Exactly when these Giants turned into world beaters is hard to
say. Trailing San Diego by 7½ games in the NL West on July 4, they
meandered in the wild-card race until the stretch run, winning the
division and finishing 92-70.
      Come the playoffs, they became dangerous. Any well-armed team
is. Start with Matt Cain - three postseason starts, a 0.00 ERA.
Throw in Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young winner. Add Madison
Bumgarner, the 21-year-old rookie who helped blank Texas in Game 4.
      San Francisco posted a trio of one-run wins in the opening round
that sent Atlanta manager Bobby Cox into retirement, then stopped
the two-time defending NL champion Phillies in the championship
series. Those wins, like this came on the road.
      In the Year of the Pitcher, the World Series proved the oldest
adage in the game: Good pitching stops good hitting, every time.
Lincecum and the team with the best ERA in the big leagues
completely shut down Josh Hamilton and the club with the majors'
top batting average.
      Texas became the latest Series newcomer to make a quick exit.
Houston (2005) and Colorado (2007) got swept in their first
appearances, Tampa Bay (2008) stuck around for just five games. The
AL champion Rangers became the first team since 1966 to get shut
out twice in a World Series, with big hitters Hamilton, Vladimir
Guerrero and Cruz left taking half-swings or flailing wildly.
      Texas hit just .190 in the five games and was outscored 29-12.
      The Rangers' franchise wrapped up its 50th season overall, in
good hands with Nolan Ryan as president and part-owner. If only Big
Tex could teach his team to hit, too.
      By the final out, Ryan sat there glumly as did the team's No. 1
fan, former President George W. Bush.
      The Giants won their sixth title overall, joining the likes of
Christy Mathewson, Mel Ott and John McGraw as champs, and tying
them for third with the Red Sox by the Yankees (27) and Cardinals
(10). They also helped ease the gloating that blew from across the
Bay, where the Oakland Athletics won three straight crowns in the
mid-1970s and swept the Giants in the earthquake-interrupted 1989
      San Francisco had come close before. Future Hall of Famers
Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Mays and Marichal lost to the
Yankees 1-0 in Game 7 in 1962. In 2002, Bonds & Co. led the Angels
5-0 in the seventh inning of Game 6 before letting that edge and
Game 7 slip away.
      Many years ago, one swing of the bat prompted a call that
resonates throughout Giants history and beyond.
      "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The
Giants win the pennant!" announcer Russ Hodges shouted over and
over after Bobby Thomson launched "The Shot Heard 'Round the
World" in 1951.
      Time to redo that cry: The Giants win the Series! The Giants win
the Series! The Giants win the Series!
      Back on regular rest, Lee and Lincecum were sharper than ever.
Put it this way: Even a 1-0 count on a Rangers hitter got some
Texas fans cheering.
      Long gone were their struggles in the opener, won by San
Francisco 11-7. These were aces at their best.
      Notes: Renteria went 7 for 17 (.412) with a Series-leading six
RBIs. ... At 2 hours, 32 minutes, it was the fastest Series game
since Game 4 in 1992 between Toronto and Atlanta, according to
STATS LLC. ... Burrell was 0 for 13 with 11 strikeouts in the
      (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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