Giants on brink of Series crown after Game 4 win
Monday, November 1, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Midway through Game 4, the speakers at Rangers Ballpark blared the 1960s Halloween favorite “Monster Mash.”
More like a World Series mismatch.
Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants completely outplayed Texas once again, beating the Rangers 4-0 Sunday night to move within one win of the championship that has eluded them for so long.
Dressed in black-and-orange, the Giants were spooky good in taking a 3-1 edge. Bumgarner silenced the Texas bats and a festive crowd, Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey backed their 21-year-old lefty with home runs and San Francisco put on a display in the field.
“We focused on the little things. Every little thing that we’re supposed to do, we’re doing it,” Edgar Renteria said after contributing three hits and turning two double plays.
Coming off their lone loss in the Series, these Giants delivered a complete game.
“Yesterday was a very helter-skelter situation,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “You’re worried about families, worried about signing balls, worried about tickets, about travel. I’m not using that as an excuse, but today they were much more relaxed, much more confident.”
Bumgarner pitched well beyond his years, allowing only three hits over eight innings.
Ace Tim Lincecum will try Monday night to deliver the Giants’ first championship since they moved to San Francisco in 1958.
“We’ve got the team to do it,” Bumgarner said.
Cliff Lee will try to save the Rangers’ season in Game 5.
Only six teams in World Series history have overcome a 3-1 deficit, mostly recently Kansas City in 1985.
“With a win, I usually sleep pretty good in the playoffs, with a loss pretty shaky. Hopefully we sleep good tonight. We’ve got a big challenge tomorrow with Cliff Lee,” Huff said. “We got him last game, but you know he’s going to come out and really want to get us.”
Bumgarner and closer Brian Wilson made the Giants the first team to post two shutouts in a World Series since Baltimore threw three straight to close out the Dodgers in 1966. Matt Cain and the Giants won 9-0 in Game 2.
“It’s certainly been pitching as advertised,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “They’ve got good stuff. They’ve got velocity. They can spin the baseball. They can change speeds and they keep their defense engaged.”
Huff, who grew up in the Metroplex, hit a two-run homer in the third off Tommy Hunter that gave Bumgarner all the support he needed. Posey added a solo shot in the eighth — Bumgarner and Posey became the first rookie battery to start in the Series since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra for the Yankees in 1947.
“It’s hard to believe he’s only 21. He’s got it all and he has no fear of anyone,” Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz said.
Wilson closed with a hitless ninth. Andres Torres doubled twice, singled and drove in a run, and the Giants’ gloves did more than their share.
Left fielder Cody Ross came up with a shoestring catch, second baseman Freddy Sanchez made a leaping grab and Posey threw out Josh Hamilton trying to steal. Bumgarner helped himself, too, knocking down Hamilton’s scorcher up the middle.
The father-and-son team of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first ball in what Major League Baseball said was the first time two former presidents attended a World Series game.
The elder Bush’s wife, Barbara, even kept score from her front-row seat next to the Texas dugout. There wasn’t much to write down — not on the Texas side, anyway, because of Bumgarner.
“I can’t say enough about what he did,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bumgarner didn’t permit a runner past first base until the seventh. Facing his only jam, he retired Ian Kinsler on a fly ball to strand two runners and preserve a 3-0 lead.
Bumgarner struck out Vladimir Guerrero three times, the first time the star Texas designated hitter had done that this season. Twice, Guerrero took weak waves at strike three.
“I’m surprised, to be honest with you,” said Hamilton, who fanned for the final out. “Vladdy is a competitor. It looked like he was looking for a different pitch than what he got.”
The Giants’ fourth starter, Bumgarner went 7-6 in 18 starts this season. He began this game with a four-pitch walk to Elvis Andrus and ran into little trouble after that. He struck out six, walked two and improved to 2-0 in three postseason starts.
“I don’t think discouragement is the right word,” Texas third baseman Michael Young said. “Obviously, we know we’re capable of more.”