It wasn't easy, but Marco Scutaro's two-out RBI single in the 10th was the difference as the San Francisco Giants beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in Game 4 of the World Series, to complete the sweep and capture their second championship in three years.
Sunday night in Detroit, the San Francisco Giants beat the Tigers 4-3 in 10 innings to complete their four-game World Series sweep. In the top of the 10th, Marco Scutaro laced a two-out single into center field, with Ryan Theriot scoring the Giants' go-ahead run. And in the bottom of the 10th, closer Sergio Romo struck out all three Tigers he faced, including Miguel Cabrera on a fastball down the middle to end the game and the World Series, delivering the Giants' second World Championship in three years.
Max Scherzer started for the Tigers, and he struck out three of the first four he faced, but weakened for just a moment in the second inning. Hunter Pence, who entered Game 4 with only two extra-base hits in 15 postseason contests, blasted a long fly ball to left-center field, where it bounced over the fence for an automatic double. And Brandon Belt followed with a drive off the wall in the right-field corner; thanks to a weird bounce, Belt wound up on third base with a triple.
Scherzer righted himself, though, and that single run was all the Giants would get. For a while.
In the bottom of the third, the Matt Cain pitching for the Giants, Austin Jackson worked a one-out walk on a pitch that just missed the bottom edge of the strike zone. And after Quintin Berry was out trying to bunt for a hit, Miguel Cabrera drove a fly ball to deep right field. Hunter Pence retreated as if he had a play, and Cabrera acted like he'd not gotten quite enough of it. But the stiff wind had other ideas, and Cabrera's drive carried into the first row of seats for a two-run homer.a) scored for the first time since Game 1, and b) took their first lead in the entire World Series. With
With Scherzer pitching well, the Tigers still owned that 2-1 lead after five innings. But in the sixth, just one bad pitch cost him that lead. Marco Scutaro led off, and hit a high chopper toward third base that Miguel Cabrera just couldn't grab in time for a pointed throw. Scherzer struck out Pablo Sandoval, but then he left a pitch over the middle for Buster Posey, and Posey drove it over the fence in the left-field corner. Just like that, the Giants were back on top, 3-2.
Once again, Scherzer righted himself and kept the score there. And just a few minutes later, Delmon Young drove a high slider from Cain over the right-field wall to tie the game, 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth.
Scherzer left in the seventh, but Drew Smyly and Octavio Dotel kept the Giants off the board in that frame, and also in the eighth. Cain was replaced in the eighth by lefty Jeremy Affeldt; he walked Avisail García, the first batter he faced, then struck out Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young in order.
In the bottom of the ninth, Affeldt got a couple of outs before giving way to Santiago Casilla. After a called strike and a couple of balls to Omar Infante, Casilla's inside fastball caught Infante flush on the left hand; he went straight to the clubhouse, and was later diagnosed with a broken finger. Alas, that loss wasn't a blessing in disguise; pinch-runner Danny Worth died on first base when Gerald Laird hit an easy grounder to third.
Coke, who became Jim Leyland's favorite relief pitcher earlier this month, came out again in the top of the 10th. Leading off: Ryan Theriot, certainly on someone's list of the unlikeliest Designated Hitters in World Series history. Theriot had gone 0 for 3 in his first-ever appearance as a DH, but in Game 4 the Giants' luck held as Theriot hit a little flare into short right field for a hit.
Brandon Crawford laid down a fine sacrifice bunt to push Theriot to second base, with the top of the Giants' order coming up.
First: Ángel Pagán, and Coke struck him out with a sweeping backdoor slider.
Second: Marco Scutaro, who was so hot in the National League Championship Series but hadn't done much in this World Series. Which nobody's going to remember, because with the count 3-and-1, Scutaro ripped a high fastball into center field for a single; Austin Jackson threw home but didn't have a chance to keep the run from scoring.
Speaking of which, here's Ryan Theriot, in what's almost certainly going to be the biggest moment of his entire professional career:
Coke got out of the inning when Pablo Sandoval grounded out, but now the Tigers were down to their last three outs.
With Sergio Romo coming in. He struck out Austin Jackson, swinging. He struck out pinch-hitter Don Kelly, swinging. And after getting ahead of Miguel Cabrera with a bunch of sliders, Romo threw a fastball that carved a path through the heart of the strike zone, while Cabrera simply watched before walking back to the losers' dugout.
Here, you might as well see it; Cabrera sure did:
Baseball's a funny game. The Giants needed unlikely comebacks to beat the Reds in their Division Series, and again to beat the Cardinals in their Championship Series. And yet now they've swept the heavily favored Tigers in the World Series. And they've done it all without their Opening Day closer and their mid-season Most Valuable Player, and with one of their highest-paid starting pitchers in the bullpen.
It's a funny game.