Lincecum lethal, Renteria clutch as Giants beat Rangers for
Erik Boland – Newsday
Freak out, San Francisco.
The drought is over.
Behind Tim Lincecum, an expected World Series hero, and a long forgotten one, the Giants delivered the City by the Bay its first World Series title with a 3-1 victory over the Rangers Monday night in Game 5 at Rangers Ballpark.
The win gave the Giants a 4-1 Series victory and the franchise its first title since 1954, when it played at the Polo Grounds in New York. The 56-year drought is baseball’s third longest.
Lincecum, aka The Freak, and soon-to-be-Yankees-target Cliff Lee engaged in a memorable pitchers’ duel for six innings before Edgar Renteria hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventh that silenced the crowd of 52,045.
Nelson Cruz’s homer off Lincecum with one out in the bottom of the seventh drew the Rangers to 3-1.
But that would be it against the 26-year-old righthander, who allowed three hits in eight innings, walking two and striking out 10. Brian Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Cruz swinging for the final out and setting off a celebration at the mound.
Renteria, who was 7-for-17 with two homers and six RBIs this Series, was named its MVP, It also was the second time he came up with a Series-winning hit. In Game 7 of the 1997 Series, his 11th-inning RBI single up the middle off the Indians’ Charles Nagy won the championship for the Marlins.
That he hit two homers this Series was nothing short of remarkable – coming into the Series, he had one home run in 61 postseason games, spanning 225 at-bats.
Neither ace was very good in Game 1, an 11-7 Giants victory, though Lincecum was far better than Lee. That night, Lincecum allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings and Lee, never before beaten in eight previous postseason starts, allowed six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Monday night, both were brilliant, Lincecum for just a little longer and without the big mistake. Lee ended up allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings, walking none and striking out six.
The Rangers’ first hit came in the fourth when Michael Young, just 4-for-17 in the Series, singled up the middle. With the crowd on its feet, Josh Hamilton struck out, Vladimir Guerrero grounded into a force play and Cruz struck out.
Aubrey Huff, whose two-run homer gave Madison Bumgarner all the offense he’d need in the Giants’ Game 4 victory, reached on an error by Moreland, the first baseman, to start the fifth. But Lee struck out the still-slumping Pat Burrell – giving him 20 strikeouts in 40 at-bats this postseason – then getting Renteria to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
Lee struck out Aaron Rowand looking to start the sixth and looked headed for another easy inning when Andres Torres grounded to short. But Freddy Sanchez, who doubled three times off Lee in Game 1, dumped a single into right. Giants rookie catcher Buster Posey came up next and momentarily sucked the wind out of the crowd, swinging at a first-pitch 92-mph fastball and smacking it opposite-field to right-center. Cruz gave chase and caught the ball against the wall in right-center to end the inning, causing Posey, caught by cameras, to say, “how did that not go out?” on his way back to the dugout.
NLCS MVP Cody Ross reached in the seventh, leading off with a single. Juan Uribe followed with a single, giving either team its first legitimate threat. Huff came next and dragged a bunt down the first-base line for his first career sacrifice. Lee struck out Burrell for the second out but, with the crowd up and whirling their white towels, Renteria hammered the lefthander’s 2-and-0 pitch over the wall in left-center, setting off a celebration in San Francisco that was topped only by the one ensuing when the third out of the ninth was recorded less than an hour later.