Rangers vs. Giants in World Series proves the overlooked inherit October
Sunday, October 24, 2010; 1:41 AM
The San Francisco Giants joined the Texas Rangers in unexpected but deliciously deserved World Series jubilation on Saturday night here with a 3-2 victory over Philadelphia in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.
Just so this game could be completely in line with a season, and a postseason, that has defied expectations and made fools of those who spent the most money on the most famous players, the game-winning, eighth-inning, opposite-field solo home run that broke a 2-2 tie came off the bat of Juan Uribe.
You know, Juan Uribe, pretty decent shortstop with a little home run pop for a few years with the White Sox, then came to the Giants as an over-30 economy-priced free agent on a one-year deal. Played shortstop on Thursday. Played third base Saturday.
In other words, a utility man sent the Giants to the Series.
"The big blow was by what's his name? The shortstop," said Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel who never did remember Uribe's name or that, in this game, he was actually playing third. Perfect.
Uribe's ball barely made it over the right field wall 10 yards fair, into the second row in a lovely ballpark that has one infamous quirk - cheap bandbox home runs. "As soon as I saw [right fielder] Jayson Werth turn his back, I said, 'Oh, no,' " Manuel said.
And who was the Giants' star pitcher? There wasn't one. There was everybody. Their starter, lefty Jonathan Sanchez, got into a shouting match with Chase Utley after hitting him with a fastball, precipitating a bench-clearing discussion of First Amendment rights, and was yanked immediately after just two volatile innings.
So, the zany Giants, proud of their identity as "misfits and castoffs," stayed true to their mantra that watching them win baseball games is actually a new form of legal "torture." To that end, they emptied their bullpen of all available semi-obscure southpaws: Jeremy Affeldt, rookie Madison Bumgarner (normally a starter) and Javier Lopez (the winning pitcher), who combined for five scoreless innings.
The only Giants pitcher who wasn't effective was - drum roll - two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, the loser of Game 5, who tried to relieve in the eighth inning on one day's rest and almost blew the Giants' 3-2 lead, leaving after two line drive hits and only one out.
Then the gods intervened. The Phils, who failed to hit in the clutch in every imaginable situation in this series, got a scorched line drive by catcher Carlos Ruiz off black-beard Giants closer Brian Wilson - but the rocket went directly to first baseman Aubrey Huff, who easily doubled wandering Shane Victorino off second base to end the inning.
For the symbolic denouement, the Phils got two men on with two outs in the ninth. A cheering, standing, begging and presumably praying crowd of 40,062 at Citizens Bank Park thought they had the proper Phillie at the plate: Ryan Howard. No, not the right man during this particular postseason, when he had gone without a single RBI, but the player who has been the offensive backbone of this superb team throughout its run to the top of the sport.