Great Pitching Lifts Giants To World Series Win San Francisco's 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday night earned the Giants franchise its first World Series victory in 56 years. Few expected them to make it to the playoffs — let alone the World Series. But great pitching got them there — and put them over the top.
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Great Pitching Lifts Giants To World Series Win

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Great Pitching Lifts Giants To World Series Win

Great Pitching Lifts Giants To World Series Win

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We don't know the winners of today's elections. We do know the winners of the World Series. The San Francisco Giants beat Texas in last night's deciding game, three to one. And the final tally in the series was four games to one.


In last night's very exciting game, the Texas Rangers sent their great pitcher, Cliff Lee, to the mound. But it was the Giants' pitching that brought them a title. NPR's Mike Pesca reports.

MIKE PESCA: In the 1950s they had girdles. Today we call them Spanx - pretty much the same thing. In the 1950s they had "Ted Mack's Amateur Hour," today we call it "American Idol," same idea. In 1954 the New York Giants last won the World Series. Today they're called the San Francisco Giants and the same title can finally be applied: champions.

It was all resting on the narrow shoulders of their two-time Cy Young award winning pitcher, Tim Lincecum. In a celebratory post-game locker room, Giants catcher Buster Posey described his battery mate's attitude before the game.

Mr. BUSTER POSEY (Professional Baseball Player, Catcher, Giants): You know what it is? It's called being a gamer, walking in the clubhouse today and the guy is as loose as can be, joking around. Just the same old Timmy. You would have no idea that he's got an opportunity to go out and win Game Five of the World Series and win us, you know, a World Series championship.

PESCA: Looseness in the clubhouse translated to an array of pitches let loose on the Rangers. Lincecum has three really good pitches in the strike zone, four tempting ones out of the zone, and enough hard stuff to keep a hitter honest.

Mr. ELVIS ANDRUS (Professional Baseball Player, Rangers): He's so little and you really can't see the pitches sometimes, and when he get that confidence going on, like tonight, that makes him pretty hard.

PESCA: Lincecum's stuff was as confusing as calculus, an improvement on a mediocre game one performance. His opposite number, Cliff Lee, had come into the World Series as statistically the least hittable post-season pitcher ever. But his Game One start was rough. He was making amends last night. Neither team had scored through six, but the Giants had runners in scoring position in the 7th, when Edgar Renteria stepped up to bat. Cliff Lee takes it from there.

Mr. CLIFF LEE (Professional Baseball Player, Pitcher, Rangers): Renteria got himself in a two - o count and got himself a pitch up.

PESCA: Was that a Cutter?

Mr. LEE: It was a cutter, yeah.

PESCA: Renteria added one detail about that cutter.

Mr. EDGAR RENTERIA (Professional Baseball Player, Giants): I got lucky, he throw that cutter inside, that ball no cut.

PESCA: The result was this, courtesy of Rangers Radio WRLD:

(Soundbite of game)

Unidentified Man (Sports announcer): Murphy's back on the track, looking up, it is gone.

PESCA: The Rangers added a Nelson Cruz homer in the 7th, but Lincecum's one bad pitch came with no men on. Final score, the Giants three, Rangers one. Afterward, Lincecum was sure to nod to history, even history that didn't go quite as far back as Candlestick Park, Seals Stadium or the Polo Grounds.

Mr. TIM LINCECUM (Professional Baseball Player, Giants): A lot of guys in there, you know, they have been praying for this day. I mean they came up short, you know, back there in the early 2000s. And we had a motivation, you know, knowing that we hadn't done it in a long time, really made us want to nail it down here.

PESCA: The Giants' closer, fur-faced fireballer Brian Wilson, who pitched a perfect 9th, chose to live a little more in the moment.

Mr. BRIAN WILSON (Professional Baseball Player, Giants): I feel awesome. I feel like I want to chug champagne right now and get a little weird.

PESCA: Get weird? The Giants who made the playoffs on the last day of the regular season? The Giants - whose best offensive player was a cast-off wannabe rodeo clown, who relied on relievers who looked like a collection of wooly willies and starters who appeared barely old enough to shave. Get weird?

The Giants, the San Francisco Giants, world champions. Pretty wonderfully weird all told.

Mike Pesca, NPR News, Arlington, Texas.

INSKEEP: And just to clear up the record, at one point in yesterday's program we misstated the score of Game Three. The Rangers actually beat the Giants four to two in what we now know was the Rangers' only victory in the series.

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