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 last 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 was 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.
"This is your dream," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a baseball lifer who led the Padres to the 1998 World Series against the Yankees and finished his fourth season with San Francisco. "That's what the game is about, being in this moment right now."
Lee and Lincecum shrugged off poor Game 1 performances and seemed on their way to producing an all-time World Series battle that, for six innings, was on pace to rank with Morris vs. Smoltz in 1991 or Smoltz vs. Pettitte in 1996.
"It was a classic pitchers' duel down until that home run," said Lee, a free agent whose most ardent pursuers are expected to be the Yankees and Rangers.
Lee, acquired by the Rangers in July and who will go through free agency for the first time, wasn't dropping any hints on what he's planning to do.
"I like this team, this was a very fun team to play on," Lee said. "I expect this team to do some really good things next year. I don't know if I'm going to be a part of it or not. I would love to be but there's so many things that can happen. You never know."
The 26-year-old Lincecum figures to lead the Giants' young, mostly homegrown rotation for years to come and, if he continues doing what he did this postseason - Game 1 aside - San Francisco should be in the playoff mix on a regular basis.
His only mistake came after Renteria's homer, when Nelson Cruz homered with one out in the seventh to draw the Rangers to 3-1. Lincecum allowed three hits in eight innings, walking two and striking out 10.
"Excited and exhausted," Lincecum said in describing his emotions.
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 in the 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.
"It's unbelievable," Renteria said. "I've been hurt all year but I kept myself in shape, kept working hard. Thank God everything worked out. I thank the organization."
That he hit two homers this Series was nothing short of remarkable - coming in, 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 52/3 innings and Lee allowed six earned runs in 42/3 innings.
Last night, both were brilliant, Lincecum for just a little longer and without the big mistake. Lee allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, walking none and striking out six.
"They flat out beat us and their pitching was a huge part of that," Lee said. "The way [Matt] Cain pitched, [Madison Bumgarner] yesterday and Lincecum today, those are three unbelievable outings on the biggest stage."
The race to see what stage Lee pitches on next year is just beginning.