Wait of the World -- Giants Win Series!


Wait of the World -- Giants Win Series!

Mychael Urban

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Edgar Renteria, of all people.A 35-year-old shortstop with said-to-be fading range and a blasted-by-fans-as-bloated contract delivered to San Francisco its first-ever World Series title.He got more than a little help from Tim Lincecum, who with eight innings of three-hit, 10-strikeout work did to the Rangers vaunted offense what Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner did in Games 2 and 4.
But it was Renteria who struck the biggest blow in the Giants 3-1, title-clinching victory in Game 5 on Monday at Rangers Ballpark. Batting a stunning .429 in the Fall Classic heading into the contest, Renteria blasted a two-out, three-run homer off Texas ace Cliff Lee in the top of the seventh inning to snap a scoreless tie, secure the World Series MVP award, and send the Giants to baseball heaven.Forget about Willie Mac's ill-fated line drive in 1962. Scott Spiezio, circa 2002? Grab some pine, meat.The San Francisco Giants are the 2010 World Champions.
And Renteria, reviled by critics as overpaid and underperforming since signing a two-year, 18 million contract before the 2009 season, had as big a hand in making them so as anyone.Only in October."I know how bad Edgar wanted it," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was serenaded on the field by 200 or so fans who made the trip to the Lone Star State and stayed in the sections behind the visitors' dugout for hours after the game."It wasn't too long ago we had a little talk, and he said, 'I just want to go out and win another World Series.'"That's right, another. Or did you forget about Renteria's Series-winning single for the Marlins back in 1997?"It's pretty incredible what he's done in his career," Bochy said."Same emotions, same feeling," Renteria said of his twin titles. "I'm just so happy my teammates can all have this feeling, too."Lincecum, a playoff rookie, certainly had it -- and deserved it.The dual masterpiece that everyone seemed to expect in Game 1 didn't pan out, as both Lincecum and Lee were knocked around a bit; Lincecum won on the strength of lasting a little longer and getting a lot more offensive support.The first six innings, however, provided a look at Lincecum and Lee at their absolute best."Two great pitchers, coming off games they probably weren;t too happy with, I had a feeling it was going to be like this today," Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez said. Lincecum -- who had faced three batters in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series just four days before his Game 1 start -- took the mound for Game 5 on his customary fifth-day turn. He looked much sharper for it. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth, and his pitch count through six innings of two-hit work was an economical 68, despite having walked one and struck out six. His primary weapon? A split-fingered changeup at its Bugs Bunny best, diving into the dirt as Rangers bats played the role of a flailing Elmer Fudd above it."Just awesome," rookie catcher Buster Posey said. "Incredible stuff from Timmy tonight."Lee -- who took the mound in Game 1 on an extra day of rest and repeatedly left pitches over the heart of the plate at AT&T -- was on turn in Game 5, too, and it showed.The Giants hit more balls hard off Lee than the Rangers did off Lincecum, but many of San Francisco's drives found Texas leather, and Lee's gorgeous, late-breaking curveball got him out of what very little trouble he encountered -- until the seventh.
"He was nasty," said the Giants unofficial postseason MVP, outfielder Cody Ross. "That was the Cliff Lee you expect to see every time he takes the mound."Yet Ross and Juan Uribe opened the seventh with singles, and Aubrey Huff's first career sacrifice bunt moved them into scoring position for DH Pat Burrell, who was benched for Game 4 after striking out eight times in his nine World Series at-bats.Burrell showed promise when he lined out to left field in his first at-bat, but whiffed again in his second. He came up empty again in the clutch, making it 10 strikeouts in 12 Series at-bats.But hitting behind him was the veteran shortstop from Colombia -- Burrell's performance opposite on the big stage. Again Renteria commanded it."He's a quality player," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You look at that lineup the Giants have over there, and Renteria, this wasn't his first World Series rodeo."Patiently laying off a pair of pitches he'd have jumped at during his frequent regular-season slumps, Renteria worked his way into a favorable 2-0 count and pounced on a cut fastball that neither cut nor was particularly fast (85 mph).As it disappeared behind the wall in left-center field, Ross jumped on the plate like a 12-year-old who'd been told his favorite player was sleeping over."I don't even remember what I did!" Ross said. "I just knew that the way Timmy was pitching. Wow, that was huge."When the stoic Renteria followed Uribe across the dish, Lincecum had a 3-0 lead. It didn't last.Nelson Cruz spoiled the shutdown inning Lincecum was seeking, slamming a solo homer to left with one out. The next batter, Ian Kinsler, drew a walk.At that point, Lincecum looked on the ropes, but he bounced back like a champ, striking out David Murphy and Bengie Molina to restore order and bring the noise in the stadium back down to a dull roar.Molina, by the way, went 0-for-3 against the ace he's credited for helping to develop when he and Lincecum were battery mates for about three seasons in San Francisco. Twice he went down on strikes, killing once and for all the notion that his intimate knowledge of Giants pitching would give the Rangers a Series edge. "They pitched so well," Molina said, and the numbers obviously back that up. The Giants scored 29 runs in five Series games. The Rangers had just 29 hits.Lee, who allowed six hits and struck out six, was replaced by Rangers closer Neftali Feliz for the start of the eighth inning. Such was the heightened sense of urgency in the Texas dugout.There was urgency in the Giants dugout as well. Lincecum, his pitch count at 92, was allowed to go back out for the bottom of the eighth, but as he did the San Francisco bullpen sprang to life.The two-time Cy Young Award winner didn't appear to notice.
Lincecum opened the frame with a 91 mph fastball and disposed of Mitch Moreland on three swinging strikes before retiring Elvis Andrus on a tapper in front of the mound, then Michael Young on a routine grounder to third.He needed all of nine pitches to get the Giants to the ninth. To the brink of history. To the brink of bedlam.That was it for Lincecum, who gave way to closer Brian Wilson for the final frame, and if the Rangers -- with their three most dangerous home-run threats due up -- weren't Fearing the Beard, they should have.Wilson whiffed Josh Hamilton to open his act, got Vlad Guerrero on an easy ground ball, then struck out Cruz to erase forever the torture of the previous 56 years and set off that bedlam.From Rangers Ballpark to the Bay Area and most certainly to New York City, where old-school Giants fans from back in the day surely shed a celebratory tear or two, there was pure, unbridled joy.And guess who summed up it all quite perfectly? Edgar Renteria, of all people. "It's unbelievable," he said. "It's unbelievable."

Cousins buys chocolate from kids for charity, donates bars to flight staff

Cousins buys chocolate from kids for charity, donates bars to flight staff

DeMarcus Cousins leads the NBA in technical fouls. He also leads the league in scowls and he’s even kicked over a few garbage cans following the Kings' loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. But that’s just a small portion of who he is.

According to a source that travels with the team, Cousins went out of his way Sunday morning to make an impact in the lives of a couple of local youth in Chicago.

Kids were selling chocolate bars outside the team’s hotel trying to earn money for charity. Plenty of people walked by, avoiding the youth, but Cousins stopped, reached into his pocket and purchased all of the boxes they had to sell.

Later on in the day, Cousins donated the candy to the flight service staff for use on the flight to Detroit.

Cousins gets plenty of negative press for his antics on the floor, but off the court, he is extremely generous. He plays Santa-Cuz during the holidays, buying gifts for underprivileged children in Sacramento and his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. He has also purchased a new scoreboard for a local high school and even paid for the funeral of a local high school football player who lost his life in a drive-by shooting.

No one is perfect, Cousins included, but he also has a genuinely good side that he often doesn’t seek or receive press for.


Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.