Step back from this ordinary series — the seventh time in the last nine years the World Series hasn’t reached a sixth game — and the big picture reveals a franchise that must be considered among the most prominent forces in the sport. Since the New York Yankees won three straight titles from 1998 to 2000, only two teams had won multiple World Series: Boston in 2004 and ’07 and St. Louis in 2006 and ’11.
Now, the Giants have two in three years — and with an outstanding group of starting pitchers and some young position players, they could well be set up to return to future postseasons.
They have Posey, a 25-year-old catcher who was a key piece to both title teams and will be an all-star for the foreseeable future. They have Cain, the right-hander who wasn’t at his best Sunday, but still offered seven tough innings of three-run ball. They have Sandoval, the free-swinging third baseman who had 24 postsesason hits. This year, they developed rookies — first baseman Brandon Belt and Crawford, the shortstop — who look to be set for the near future. And they have flexibility, because Romo became their closer in the postseason only because Brian Wilson was out following elbow surgery, and Wilson will be back next year.
But those are the issues to come. First, the Giants had to win Game 4, their toughest task in 10 days. They jumped on top against Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer in the second on Belt’s first hit of the series, a scalded triple, and appeared poised to keep rolling.
And then, something completely different. In the bottom of the third, Cabrera came to the plate with just two singles in nine at-bats in the series, a runner on second and two outs. He lofted Cain’s 1-1 change-up the opposite way, to right. A stiff wind was blowing that way — likely the Tigers’ first break of the series — and the ball dropped into the first row, a two-run homer for a 2-1 Detroit lead.
Suddenly, the Giants were in new territory. Since they lost Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against St. Louis, they had not trailed. Not even by one run, not even for one inning.
So they came back. Posey — the presumptive NL MVP who entered the at-bat hitting a cool .190 in the postseason, with just two extra-base hits — crushed a Scherzer change-up for a two-run homer in the sixth. When Detroit designated hitter Delmon Young tattooed the first pitch he saw from Cain in the sixth deep to right, the series had something it had lacked — some topsy-turvyness.
All that just set up Scutaro’s heroics, and Romo to close it out. This series will not be remembered as a classic, but the Giants don’t care at all. Look around baseball, and find another team with two titles in recent, rapid succession. They are alone in that category, and in the dreary drizzle of Detroit, that’s all that mattered to this group, who might still be bouncing up and down, together.