Lincecum bests Lee to give Giants first title in 56 years
BY CHRIS DE LUCA Staff Reporter
Closer Brian Wilson passes the Giants' World Series championship trophy to starter Tim Lincecum.
Updated: November 28, 2010 4:54PM
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Bruce Bochy's crew of misfits and castoffs brought to San Francisco something Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Bobby Bonds or Barry Bonds couldn't do. They even wiped away the ill feelings of Dusty Baker's Giants being five outs from winning it all in 2002.
This group of rookies and trash-heap veterans won the 106th World Series, sealing it with a dramatic 3-1 victory -- powered by MVP Edgar Renteria's three-run homer and another brilliant pitching performance -- to stun the Texas Rangers in Game 5 on Monday night.
Along the way, the Giants proved that good pitching does indeed beat good hitting.
''We don't have any superstars,'' said outfielder Cody Ross, claimed off waivers from the Florida Marlins in August only to become an October star for the Giants. ''We are just a bunch of guys that wanted to win. Obviously, our pitching is incredible.''
In a pitchers' duel between Tim Lincecum and the previously most feared pitcher this postseason in Cliff Lee, The Freak prevailed, tying in knots the majors' most dangerous lineup with a confusing diet of changeups that were perfectly located as the Giants won their first World Series since 1954, when the team called New York home.
Lincecum held the Giants to three hits and one run in eight innings, striking out 10. Closer Brian Wilson pitched a perfect ninth to finish off the pitching masterpiece as the Giants beat Lee twice to win it all.
''What a battle,'' Wilson said, champagne soaking his dyed-black beard. ''This was for the greats of San Francisco that played before us. We just had a bunch of team-effort guys.''
The packed house at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was treated to the duel we were promised in Game 1, when Lee and Lincecum first squared off. Despite the hype, it was anything but a mound battle as the Giants rolled to an 11-7 victory, the bullpens doing all the work by the sixth inning.
Lee -- with his 7-0 postseason record entering the World Series -- was crowned unbeatable before Game 1. Lincecum didn't get quite the same respect, despite blowing past the Atlanta Braves' Derek Lowe and the Philadelphia Phillies' Roy Halladay to help usher his team to the World Series.
Lincecum was in a groove from the moment he finished his Game 5 warmups, retiring the first eight Rangers and not allowing a hit until Michael Young's leadoff single to center in the fourth inning.
It became a matter of which ace would run out of gas first after the the sixth inning closed with no score. Then the Giants opened the seventh inning with consecutive singles to center by Ross and Juan Uribe, their most productive hitters this postseason. Aubrey Huff followed with a beautiful drag bunt that caused Lee to make a diving stop.
It was Huff's first bunt of the year, and he put runners on second and third with one out, presenting Lee with his tightest jam of the game.
''I can't even believe what just happened,'' Huff said after the last out. ''I didn't even have a job late in the offseason. These guys gave me a chance.''
Up stepped Pat Burrell, who was coming off a benching in Game 4. Lee regrouped and fanned Burrell, giving him 10 strikeouts in 12 hitless at-bats this World Series.
Then Renteria stepped to the plate. The same veteran shortstop who called a late-September team meeting in Chicago to tell his Giants teammates this team had the goods to go all the way. It was a meeting that many of the Giants say saved their season. And then Renteria, who called the shot before strolling to the plate, put the Series away, belting a 2-0 delivery from Lee over the wall in center field.
A test for Lincecum: How would he handle the late lead-
After striking out Vladimir Guerrero -- continuing to fool this lineup with his baffling changeup -- Lincecum yielded a home run to Nelson Cruz, ending a stretch of 18 1/3 scoreless innings for the Rangers, their longest such streak this season. After a walk to Ian Kinsler prompted a mound visit, Lincecum returned to form, striking out David Murphy and Bengie Molina to close the inning.
Lee was gone by the start of the eighth, replaced by Rangers closer Neftali Feliz.
Lincecum said he grew up wanting to be the hitting hero in a World Series.
''But in this case,'' Lincecum said while holding the World Series trophy, ''I'll take this.''