Bumgarner Leads Giants Into Game 5

The San Francisco Giants are now one win away from a World Series championship. The Giants beat the Texas Rangers 4-0 on Sunday — behind rookie pitcher Madison Bumgarner. San Francisco leads the series 3-1. Game 5 is Monday.

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(Soundbite of music)

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The San Francisco Giants are on the verge of winning their first World Series since the team left New York and moved out west in 1958. The Giants beat the Texas Rangers four to nothing last night to take a three-to-one series lead. It puts Texas, a team in its first ever World Series, in the position of having to win three in a row, if it can. NPR's Mike Pesca reports from Arlington, Texas.

MIKE PESCA: The Dallas-Fort Worth area had never hosted a World Series before, so they would be excused if they were confused about big game etiquette. Instead, the more than 50,000 Ranger fans in attendance for each of the first two games rightly demanded a feast for the senses and they got it, for all the senses.

There were sights to behold, from military flyovers to first pitches by two former presidents, both named George Bush. For Rangers fans, the greatest sight on Saturday was Mitch Moreland going yard with a three-run home run.

(Soundbite of cheers)

PESCA: And later Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton displayed his sense of touch, as in touch them all, for the coup de grace to a four-to-nothing Texas win. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The correct score was Texas Rangers 4, San Francisco Giants 2.]

But there were no fireworks and no stirring musical cue provided by a Randy Newman score last night, just ESPN's Jon Miller describing the Giants catcher's contribution to what would be a four-to-nothing San Francisco victory.

Mr. JON MILLER (ESPN Sports Announcer): Going back, Hamilton still going back, at the warning track, at the wall, it's gone, a home run for Buster Posey just to the right of the 404-foot marker.

PESCA: Buster Posey may very well be the National League rookie of the year, but even with that home run he wasn't quite the rookie of the game. That distinction belonged to Posey's battery mate, Madison Bumgarner, a 21-year-old left-hander who held the Rangers to three hits over eight innings. Then Giants closer Brian Wilson pitched a perfect 9th inning. After the game the hirsute hurler introduced yet another sense to the mix.

Mr. BRIAN WILSON (Professional Baseball Player, Giants): Then again, you know, even though we have a slight advantage right now, we still have to come in to tomorrow with the taste of blood and take down a victory.

PESCA: Wilson can taste blood, and like any good closer he professes a love of the hunt. But a couple of lockers over, fellow reliever Jeremy Affeldt was asked about yet another sense.

Unidentified Reporter: Are you smelling this thing, can you sense it?

Mr. JEREMY AFELDT (Professional Baseball Player, Giants): I don't think anybody, right now, wants to try to smell anything.

PESCA: Smell has actually gotten a lot of attention in this series. When games were played in San Francisco the odor of marijuana, medicinal or otherwise, was detected throughout the stadium. Even the Rangers' center fielder Josh Hamilton said he could smell it. Over these last two games in Arlington, the smell was said to be nothing more than the sage in bloom, like perfume.

(Soundbite of crowd singing "Deep in the Heart of Texas")

PESCA: At this juncture it is fair to ask how much resilience there is deep in the heart of the Texas Rangers. For a team that's been clubbing the ball all year, their bats have suddenly turned shy. After game three, Rangers veteran Michael Young said he always had confidence in his team, and for that game the confidence was justified. At that time, Young laid out his definition of what constituted a must-win game.

Mr. MICHAEL YOUNG (Professional Baseball Player, Rangers): I don't really buy the whole must win thing. It's a must win if the other team has three wins, then it's a must win.

PESCA: Well the Giants now do have three wins, and the Rangers must be more than sensing that their season is on the line.

Mike Pesca, NPR News, Arlington, Texas.

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Correction Nov. 1, 2010

We incorrectly reported the score of Game 3 of the World Series. The correct score was Texas Rangers 4, San Francisco Giants 2.

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