DETROIT – The San Francisco Giants waited 52 years to win their first World Series after moving West, finally getting their long-awaited title in 2010 against Texas. They only had to wait two years for the second one.
Putting the climax to one of the most incredible postseason runs in baseball history, the Giants wrapped up a stunning four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a 4-3, 10-inning victory Sunday night at frigid Comerica Park.
Second baseman Marco Scutaro, once a 21-year-old kid who famously came up from Class A ball to join the Buffalo Bisons in 1997, was the toast of San Francisco this October after earning Most Valuable Player honors in the National League Championship Series. He’s a legend by the Bay forever now after looping a two-out, RBI single to short right-center to score Ryan Theriot with what proved to be the series-winning run.
Theriot, who won the World Series last year while playing with St. Louis, led off the 10th with a single off Detroit reliever Phil Coke and took second on Brandon Crawford’s perfect sacrifice. After Angel Pagan struck out, Scutaro delivered on a 3-1 pitch.
“It’s one of those moments where he’s always been a clutch hitter for us in this run,” said Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, the MVP of the series. “I was ready for that moment, that at-bat. He did a lot of things for this team. He earned this to be a World Series champ. He’s been through a lot of things in his career.”
“There are so many things going through my mind, it’s unbelievable,” Scutaro said. “We weren’t comfortable just because we were up, 3-0. We wanted to finish them off today. It’s a dream come true. When you sign a professional contract, it’s pretty much what you dream about. You work through the offseason, spring training, everything. All for this moment.”
Closer Sergio Romo retired the Tigers in order in the 10th to save his third straight game. The final out was a called third strike taken by Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, who homered in the third but finished the series just 3 for 13. Detroit cleanup man Prince Fielder was left on deck with a 1-for-14 showing for his series.
The Giants wrapped up the first World Series sweep since Boston polished off Colorado in 2007. San Francisco was down, 2-0, in the division series against Cincinnati and rallied to win the final three games in Great American Ballpark, becoming the first team to wipe out such a deficit on the road.
The Giants were down, 3-1, in the NLCS against St. Louis and roared back to win the last three games in that set as well. The Series sweep thus gives them seven straight wins to close the postseason.
“To be world champions in two of the last three years is amazing,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “I couldn’t be prouder to be here with a group of guys that wouldn’t be denied. I’m so proud of what they accomplished.”
Sandoval batted .500 in the series and collected 24 hits in the postseason, one shy of the all-time record.
“When your backs are against the wall, that’s the time you’re having fun and relaxed,” Sandoval said. “You see that with our team. Day by day, game by game.”
The Tigers scored just six runs in the four games and batted just .159. It was a bitter finish for Detroit, given the roll they entered the series on after sweeping the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
“I’m a little bit flabbergasted, to be honest with you,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “In both of those series, I never would have thought we would have swept the New York Yankees and I never would have thought that the Giants would have swept us, but it happened. It’s a freaky game.”
There were no home runs in Games Two or Three, the first time since the Braves-Yankees series in 1996 that consecutive games had been played without a longball. With the fierce wind swirling out to right, things were quite a bit different Sunday.
The Tigers were shut out in Games Two and Three – becoming the first Series team in 46 years to endure that fate – but used the longball in this one to come from behind twice.
The Giants took a second-inning lead on Brandon Belt’s RBI triple but watched the Tigers come back to go ahead when Cabrera took advantage of a strong wind out to right and lofted a two-run homer that gave Detroit its first lead in the series.
Catcher Buster Posey’s two-run homer in the sixth put San Francisco back in front, 3-2, but the Tigers came right back in the bottom of the inning to tie it on Delmon Young’s solo shot to right.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer went 6∑ strong innings and battled through the second and third when his team needed him to in order to keep the game close.
San Francisco took the lead in the second when Hunter Pence lofted a ground-rule double that one-hopped over the wall in left and Belt followed with a booming triple to right on the next pitch that barely missed being a home run.
Pence trotted home on the first hit of the series by Belt, who had been 0 for 10 with six strikeouts. The Giants, however, couldn’t get the second run home as Gregor Blanco grounded to Omar Infante at second with infield in and Theriot lofted a fly ball to right.
The Tigers had gone 21∑ innings without a run until they finally broke through against Cain in the bottom of the third.
Austin Jackson worked a walk with one out and went to second on a Quinto Berry groundout. On a 1-1 pitch, Cabrera lofted Cain’s 86-mph changeup deep for a two-run homer that the wind clearly got a hold of and blew back, back, back until Pence ran into the wall in right and simply ran out of room.
That brought the chilled and mostly silent crowd back into the game for the first time since the series hit town Saturday. It also ended the Giants’ streak of leading at 56 consecutive innings – second in postseason history to the 60 innings of the 2004 Red Sox.
Posey, the National League batting champion and the likely NL Most Valuable Player, was batting just .196 in the postseason until his home run. But one of his other hits this month was the grand slam that was the key hit of the Giants’ clinching Game Five win of the division series in Cincinnati.
Posey connected on a Scherzer changeup, pulling it just inside the left-field foul pole to give the Giants the lead. Scutaro had led off the inning with an infield single, beating out a topper to Cabrera at third, before Sandoval struck out on a full-count pitch.