EXTRA BAGGS: The fate of the final-out ball, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: The fate of the final-out ball, etc.

DETROIT What happened to the ball from the final outSunday night, the one that Sergio Romo so daringly threw at 89 mph down themiddle past a baffled Triple Crown winner to win a World Series?

Buster Posey tucked it safely in his glove. And he didnt wantto be responsible for it.

So I gave it to Boch, Posey said. Let him make thedecision.

This ball might mean more to Bruce Bochy than anyone else.Hes spent a lifes work in this game, beginning in 1975 when he was a20-year-old in the Appalachian League, renting a trailer near the West Virginiaborder with four other guys for 10 a month.

A backup catcher who feared cut day every spring, Bochy nolonger has to fret over his place. He has arrived, in every sense. Hesfashioned an 18-year career as a manager that includes six NL West titles,three NL pennants and two World Series championships.

Hes the first manager to win two titles in a three-yearspan since the Yankees and Joe Torre three-peated in 1998-2000, and the firstNL manager to do so since Sparky Anderson and the Big Red Machine won in1975-76.

If you dont consider this two non-consecutive-titles-in-three-seasonsthing a dynasty, then look at it another way: If Buster Posey hadnt gotten takenout by a targeted hit at home plate in May of 2011, the Giants just might havewon last year, too. They wouldve gotten in the playoffs, at least. And asweve learned by now, you never underestimate Bochy in the postseason.

In the story I wrote after the Giants clinching victorySunday, I described 2010 as a happy accident and 2012 as more of amaster-planned community -- the younger, more athletic, contact-oriented, defensivelystrong team that Bochy and GM Brian Sabean always believed would fit theirballpark and division.
RELATED: These World Series champion Giants weren't lucky -- just good

To put it another way: Two years ago, the Giants were aGrateful Dead concert one long, rocked out, improvised, feel-good jam session.With some familiar wafting scents, too.

This time, it was, in the words of Motowns own Diana Ross,I Hear a Symphony.

But it was a symphony that required so many instruments tobe tuned along the way. And Bochy conducted better than Vivek Mehta, using TimLincecums tempo allegro to brighten the middle innings, believing that BarryZito could keep time on percussion and backing it all with deep, determinedreverberations from Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong.

When Brian Wilson couldnt provide the crescendo, Bochy wentwith cymbals by committee. It almost never works that way in a bullpen. Thistime, it did.

Bochy used his personnel expertly. He not only put them inpositions to succeed, but the respectful way in which he nudged them ledplayers like Lincecum to embrace those adjustments.

And Bochy joined Torre and Sparky in baseball lore.

I count my blessings, Bochy said. Im blessed to be in asituation where we can win. I know how lucky I am and Im numb really, thatweve won two World Series in the last three years. Im sure it will sink in,but right now, Im speechless.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland went out of his way to give Bochyand the Giants credit for being the better team in the World Series.

This wasnt the first time Leyland has gotten bested byBochy. In fact, Bochy pretty much has career ownage on Leyland. Entering this series, Leyland had a 24-40 record against Bochy-managedteams:

The Pirates were 4-8 against the Padres in 1995 and 4-9against them in 96; the Marlins were 5-6 against the Padres in 97 and 4-5against them in 98; the Rockies were 4-9 against the Padres in 99, the Tigerswere 2-1 against the Giants in 2008 and 1-2 against them in 11.

And now, Bochy is 4-0 against him in the postseason.

Obviously there was no doubt about it, they swept us,Leyland said. So there was certainly no bad breaks, no fluke. I tip myhat to them. Simple, they did better than we did.

We just didn't do good enough.They were better thanwe were, and you can't say anything different.I mean, if it goes sevengames and you lose the seventh game on a freak play or something, you mightsay, well, we were as good as they were, but in this series we were not as goodas they were, that's simple, you tip your hat to them.

From sweeping the Yankees to getting swept by the Giants Leyland summed it up in one word: Flabbergasted.

Hey, he wasnt the only one. I picked the Tigers in five,too, as some folks have delighted in reminding me.

My rationale: The Giants had expended so much energy in thefirst two rounds while winning six elimination games. They didnt have a chanceto set up their rotation, and they hadnt played well at home until those lasttwo games against the Cardinals in the NLCS.

Plus wed already seen what Justin Verlander did to kill theBernie-leaning As, who entered the postseason with more momentum than anyone.Along with a lot of others, I felt it wouldnt be smart to bet againstVerlander. (And if you want to chastise me for not believing, then you dontreally understand what a beat reporter does.)

You know what happened: Pablo Sandoval turned Game 1 intoPandamonium, and the entire tone of the series changed from there.

After the fact, the Giants werent shy about saying it: Theylet all those predictions fuel them.

I think some people have a foot in their mouth right now,Cain said.

Guilty as chmnnfnannhnhhrged.

The Giants won the first extra-inning clinching World Seriesgame since the Florida Marlins won Game 7 in 1997. The two guys with thego-ahead singles in those games, both to right field?

Marco Scutaro and Edgar Renteria. Seems appropriate enough.

Well, maybe Leyland would see it differently. Renterias hitclinched Leyland his only World Series title as a manager. Scutaros hit deniedLeyland another.

Posey is likely to become the first player to win an MVPaward and World Series title in the same season since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

Hed also become just the third Giant to pull off that doublefeat, joining Willie Mays (in 1954) and Carl Hubbell (in 1933).

The Giants could join the 1976 Reds as the only teams tohave a player win the All-Star MVP, regular-season MVP and World Series MVP inthe same season.

The NL MVP will be awarded Nov. 15. I was one of 32 votersassigned to that committee by the BBWAA. Regulations prohibit me from revealingmy ballot until the award is announced, but based on gathered intelligence, itwould be a huge shock if Posey doesnt win in a landslide.

Not to make Dusty Baker feel any more miserable, but if theReds had gotten past the Giants in the NLDS, I really believe they wouldvegone all the way.

They had defense and a live-armed bullpen that was even moretalented than what the Giants displayed in the World Series, and dont forgetwhat Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey did in their starts. They might havegotten Johnny Cueto back for the World Series, too.

The Reds and Giants were the only teams in the majors indeed, the only teams since the 2006 White Sox to receive 30 starts fromfive different pitchers. Not to suggest Mike Leake couldve been Lincecum, butrotation depth can be such an asset to help you survive a postseason series.

The Giants survived that grinding NLDS because they found away to win in extra innings when Bailey held them to one hit and struck out 10in Game 3. And when Jay Bruce couldve sent the Reds through with a home run inthe ninth inning of Game 5, Romo put the weight of the entire season on everypitch he threw. Incredibly, he did that 12 times as Bruce fouled away onepitchers strike after another. Finally, Bruce lifted a slider to shallow leftfield, and Romo won the battle.

I think that was the proof kiln moment for Romo the momenthe became what the Giants needed him to be.

His manager and his teammates already believed in him. Buttwo years earlier, hed given up that home run in Atlanta to another leftyhitter, Eric Hinske, which nearly cost the Giants everything. (The Giantsrallied in the ninth to win, leading Romo to exclaim over and over, I love myteammates.)

Romo suddenly had confidence that his ordinary, 88-mphtwo-seam fastball could be more than an honesty pitch to keep him from triplingup sliders. It could become a weapon a perfect little ploy when hitters werelooking for that sweeping breaker.

Even Triple Crown hitters.

The Giants wouldnt have made it to that final confrontationwith Miguel Cabrera, and the celebration that followed, if they hadnt squeakedpast the Reds just as they did in that torturous NLDS with the Braves in2010. Theres something to be said about that, I think.

First youve got to win your division and the biggestobstacle, as weve learned, is that first round, Sabean said. Whenever wevebeen able to punch through, weve gone to the World Series or won the WorldSeries.

In our case this year, Romos save in Cincinnati was thelightning rod. Thats where everything began to turn.

I sometimes wonder why Santiago Casilla doesnt get more credit,love, ink, edible arrangements, etc. for converting 19 of his first 20 saveopportunities, which was so important to keep the bullpen from destabilizingafter Wilsons elbow couldnt make it through the first week of the season.

Well, Casilla was the winning pitcher in Sundays WorldSeries clincher, and he joins a very short list of Giants to make that claim:Tim Lincecum, Don Liddle, Dolf Luque, Art Nehf (twice) and Christy Mathewson.

Just for kicks, I also looked up the list of Giants pitchersto throw the final pitch to clinch a World Series championship:

Sergio Romo, Brian Wilson, Johnny Antonelli, Dolf Luque, ArtNehf (twice again!) and Mr. Mathewson.

It was Barry Zito, along with Hunter Pence, who took thefloor before Game 4, reminding the Giants that the Tigers had just swept theYankees in the ALCS. Zito also reminded his mates that there was a strongchance of storms and an even stronger chance of Justin Verlander in Game 5.

So there was no place for complacency.

It was one more, one final speech that reached its intendedaudience.

This is the Giants seventh World Series title in franchisehistory, trailing only the Yankees (27), Cardinals (11) and As (9).

Its the fifth time the Giants have clinched the title onthe road. They havent won a World Series in front of their home crowd since1921.

Youre just going to have to deal with that.

Just landed in SFO and the World Series championship T-shirtsare in every store. The merchandisers mustve printed them in advance, whichmeans they didnt listen to the pundits, either!

Three Giants among 2016 Gold Glove finalists

Three Giants among 2016 Gold Glove finalists

On Thursday, Rawlings announced the list of Gold Glove finalists.

Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik are in the running at their respective positions.

NL catchers: Posey, Yadier Molina, Jonathan Lucroy.

NL shortstops: Crawford, Addison Russell, Freddy Galvis.

NL second basemen: Panik, Jean Segura, D.J. LeMahieu. 

Brandon Belt, who was a finalist last season, did not make the cut.

Crawford won his first Gold Glove last year, while Posey and Panik have never won the award.

The winners are expected to be announced shortly after the World Series ends.

Cubs come alive behind Schwarber, Arrieta; World Series tied 1-1


Cubs come alive behind Schwarber, Arrieta; World Series tied 1-1


CLEVELAND -- Jake Arrieta made a teasing run at history, Kyle Schwarber drove in two runs and the Chicago Cubs brushed off a shutout to even the World Series with their first Fall Classic win in 71 years, 5-1 over the Cleveland Indians in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Arrieta carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, briefly invoking Don Larsen's name, before the Indians touched him for two hits and a run. However, the right-hander helped give Chicago just what it needed - a split at Progressive Field - before the Cubbies return to their Wrigley Field den for the next three games starting Friday night.

The Cubs hadn't won in the Series since beating Detroit 8-7 in 1945 to force Game 7.

The free-swinging Schwarber, who made it back for Chicago's long-awaited Series return after missing most of the season with an injured left knee, hit an RBI single in the third off Cleveland's Trevor Bauer and had another in the Cubs' three-run fifth - highlighted by Ben Zobrist's run-scoring triple.

Even the presence of star LeBron James and the NBA champion Cavaliers, sporting their new rings, couldn't stop the Indians from losing for the first time in six home games this postseason.

And Cleveland manager Terry Francona's magical touch in October finally fizzled as he dropped to 9-1 in Series games.

With rain in the forecast, Major League Baseball moved the first pitch up an hour in hopes of avoiding delays or a postponement.

It turned out to be a good call as the game went on without a hitch and ended after more than four hours as light rain was beginning to fall.

Arrieta and the Cubs provided the only storm.

The bearded 30-year-old coasted through five innings without allowing a hit, the first pitcher to get that deep in a Series game with a no-hitter since David Cone of the New York Yankees in 1998.

For a brief period, Arrieta looked as if he might challenge Larsen's gem - a perfect game - in 1956 before Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, a die-hard Cubs fan as a kid, doubled with one out in the sixth.

Before that, Cleveland hitters had a couple good swings, and drew three walks, but couldn't mount a real threat. Arrieta has two career no-hitters, in fact, including the only one in the majors this year.

Cubs lefty Mike Montgomery replaced Arrieta and worked two scoreless innings before Aroldis Chapman came in and unleashed his 103 mph heat while getting the last four outs.

The teams will have an off day before the series resumes with Game 3 at Wrigley, which will host its first Series game since Oct. 6, 1945, when tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave with his pet goat, Murphy, and a curse was born.

Josh Tomlin will start for the Indians, who will lose the designated hitter in the NL ballpark, against Kyle Hendricks.

Schwarber might also wind up on the bench after two days as the DH.

With a gametime temperature of 43, the weather was more fitting for the Browns and Bears to bang heads than the boys of summer.

The Cubs were the ones who came up thumping after being blanked 6-0 in Game 1 by Corey Kluber and Cleveland's shut-down bullpen.

Zobrist's one-out triple triggered the fifth as the Cubs opened a 5-0 lead, not that Arrieta needed it.

After Anthony Rizzo walked following a 10-pitch at-bat, Zobrist laced a ball off Zach McAllister that was going to be a double until right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall slipped and fell. Rizzo was waved around and Zobrist hustled into third.

Schwarber followed with his second RBI and reliever Bryan Shawn later walked No. 9 hitter Addison Russell with the bases loaded.

Unlike his start in Toronto on Oct. 17, when his stitched cut opened up and Bauer was forced to make a bloody departure in the first inning, his finger held up fine.

The Cubs, though, put a few nicks in him in 3 2/3 innings.

The drone accident has brought attention to the quirky Bauer, and one Chicago fan tried to rattle the right-hander by sending a smaller version of the remote-controlled, flying object that cut him.

Bauer posted a photo of it on Twitter, saying "I see the (at)Cubs fans love me! How nice of them to send me a gift!"

The Cubs, who were off balance from the start against Kluber, scored their first run in a Series game since `45 in the first on Rizzo's RBI double.

Bauer needed 51 pitches to get through two innings, and he was one strike from getting out of the third unscathed when Chicago turned a walk and to singles into a 2-0 lead.

Cubs: Hendricks is coming off his brilliant performance in Game 5 of the NLCS when he pitched two-hit ball for seven innings as the Cubs clinched their first pennant in 71 years. The right-hander went 16-8 during the regular season with a league-leading 2.13 ERA.

Indians: It will be an emotional night for Tomlin, who will pitch on 12 day's rest with his ailing father, Jerry, in attendance. The elder Tomlin became stricken with a spinal condition in August, when Tomlin was struggling on the mound. The right-hander more than recovered and rescued Cleveland's rotation in the postseason, winning both starts.