Giants sweep Tigers for second world championship in three seasons
DETROIT -- A team administered last rites more times than it could remember, in the regular season and in the National League playoffs, had it surprisingly easy in the World Series.
And now the Giants are world champions for the second time in three years.
NLCS Most Valuable Player Marco Scutaro had one more big hit in him, a two-out RBI single off Phil Coke in the 10th inning that ended up being the difference in the Giants' 4-3 win over the Tigers in World Series Game 4 in front of 42,152 frozen fans Sunday night at Comerica Park.
"He had one more hit left in him,'' Giants Game 4 starter Matt Cain said after his team's four-game sweep. "And it was the biggest one we needed."
The Giants, who had staved off elimination six times in the first two rounds -- trailing the Reds 2-0 in the NLDS and the Cardinals 3-1 in the NLCS -- had no such difficulty this time.
Pablo Sandoval, who hit three homers in Game 1 and went 8-for-16 in the four games, was named World Series MVP. "This is an incredible moment,'' Sandoval said, "one that you're never going to forget.''
The Tigers, shut out in Games 2 and 3, got a two-run homer from Cabrera and a solo shot from Delmon Young. Buster Posey's two-run homer in the sixth gave the Giants a 3-2 lead. But Young's blast in the bottom of the inning tied it at 3.
It stayed that way until Scutaro dumped Coke's 3-and-1 pitch in front of centerfielder Austin Jackson, who didn't seem to get a good jump on the ball. The hit drove in Ryan Theriot, who led off the inning with a single.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was gracious in defeat. "No bad breaks. We got beat,'' he said.
"Congratulations to the Giants. They did a fantastic job. For a team that was down to Cincinnati 0-and-2 and came back and won, then fought their way through the other series, they deserved it. They're the world champions and they deserve to be the world champions.''
After holding the Yankees to a .157 average in a four-game sweep, Leyland watched his Tigers score only six runs in four games and bat .159 (20-for-126) against the Giants.
"I'm a little bit flabbergasted, to be honest with you, at both of those series,'' Leyland said. "I never would have thought we would have swept the New York Yankees and I never would have thought the Giants would have swept us. But it happened. It's a freaky game and it happened."
Said Giants manager Bruce Bochy: "That's our strength, pitching and defense. [GM] Brian Sabean's done a tremendous job of building this club, bringing the pitching in here and of course the defense. When pitching is your strength, you want a good defense. And that shows up every day. Hitting, sometimes it comes and goes, but as long you can stay in more games, the better chance you have of winning them, and that's how we play."
The first-pitch temperature of 44 degrees felt like 36 because of an unremitting wind, joined soon after by a steady mist.
For the fourth straight game, the Giants scored first. Hunter Pence started the second-inning rally with a double that hopped over the wall in left-center. Brandon Belt, 0-for-10 in the first three games, tripled down the rightfield line, missing a home run by a couple of feet. Max Scherzer stranded him at third, getting Gregor Blanco to ground out and Theriot to fly out.
Three homers later, the score was tied at 3-3 after six innings. That's the way it stayed until Scutaro won it. Said Bochy, "When you look at this club and the term teamwork and team play and play as a team, these guys truly did. They set aside their own agenda for what's best for the club. It shows so much character in that clubhouse, they kept fighting and said, hey, we're not going home."
And now the Giants are the ones going home with a title.
"I'm disappointed for Mr. Ilitch," Leyland said of Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, 83, who spent lavishly on this year's team, including bringing in Prince Fielder, in an attempt to win a title. "We wanted this bad for him."