Killion: World Series MVP returns to San Francisco


Killion: World Series MVP returns to San Francisco

June 8, 2011

Programming Note: Tune into Chronicle Live, Thursday at 5 p.m. on CSN Bay Area with special guest Edgar Renteria.
Ann Killion

This is the last one.

The last emotional ceremony. The last World Series ring to bestow. The last postseason legend to honor.

Perhaps the most important one.

Edgar Renteria will be in town tonight with the Cincinnati Reds. There will be a pregame on-field ceremony when Renteria will receive his ring.

Well see a highlight film of his three-run home run in the seventh inning Game 5 of the World Series, the hit that delivered a championship to San Francisco and MVP honors to Renteria.

And the ovation will be deafening.

REWIND: Sad end to Renteria-Giants saga

As with Juan Uribe, players from the 2010 team may shed their Giants uniform but they can never shed their legacy. They will always be a part of the greatest moment in San Francisco Giants history and will always be beloved.

Especially the only World Series MVP in San Francisco history.

No matter how uncomfortable his exit was.

Back in December, Renteria caused a stir by saying that the Giants 1 million offer to return was a total lack of respect. He and his agent later backed off those comments, but he signed with the Cincinnati Reds for a reported one-year 2.1 million contract and a promise of more playing time.

I wanted Edgar to come back, Bochy said. I talked to him. Brian (Sabean) talked to him. He made his decision, which we respect.

And while the Giants shortstop position isnt quite settled (though Brandon Crawford is making strides toward stabilizing things), its questionable whether Renteria could have helped the Giants. Hes played only 32 games this season and has recently been sidelined with a bad back which could be aggravated if the Giants surround him and pound on him tonight, the way they did with Uribe when he got his ring at AT&T Park.

No matter how things ended in the offseason, there are no hard feelings. It will be an emotional reunion with the 16-year veteran.

It will be so good to see him, Andres Torres said. He helped me a lot; not just me, but all of us. He taught us how to do things offensively and defensively. How to keep our minds in the game.

Despite his frustrations over injuries that limited his playing time and effectiveness for his two seasons as a Giant, Renteria was a touchstone inside the clubhouse.

It was Renteria who got up to speak at an emotional September meeting in the batting cage at Wrigley Field when the Giants were struggling. In his tear-filled speech, he told his teammates that it didnt matter if he had a reduced role on the team, that he would support every player and believed they could win a World Series. That night the Giants beat the Cubs 13-0.

Edgar was so respected and revered in the clubhouse, said Bruce Bochy. He was a calming influence.

REWIND: Renteria's two HRs earn World Series MVP honors

In one of the most masterful decisions of his genius postseason managing, Bochy put Renteria on the postseason roster, despite his limited contributions during the regular season. In Bochys mind, those limits might have helped.

He went into the postseason fresh, Bochy said. He wasnt worn down.

Renteria tore through his biceps tendon in the NLDS, which actually reduced the pain in his arm. When the World Series started, Bochy made Renteria his starting shortstop, moving Uribe to third. It changed the team dynamic.

He and Uribe both, Bochy said. With them anchoring the left side of the infield, there was such a sense of confidence.

The defense was solid. And, in terms of offense, Bochy had a hunch that Renteria might do something big. After all, he was the only guy on the roster who had the World Series-winning hit back in 1997 when he was with the Marlins.

Certain guys have a way of coming through in the big moment, Bochy said. Hes a clutch player. He finds a way to become a better player with the game on the line.

He did it all through the World Series. The 34-year old had an impressive statistical line: Renteria was 7-for-17 with six runs, six runs batted in and three home runs.

He saved the best for last. With Cody Ross and Uribe on base and two outs, Renteria sent a 2-0 pitch over the left-center fence. He gave the Giants a 3-0 lead. Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson closed out the game and the Giants were World Series champions.

Tonight the Giants will break out the jewelry. And the memories. And, quite possibly, the hankies.

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

SAN FRANCISCO — In the bottom of the eighth inning Monday, with the Giants finally running away with one, Johnny Cueto started blowing into a giant wad of bubble gum. He held two hands out, ready to catch remnants of an explosion as Brandon Crawford and Kelby Tomlinson looked on and smiled. 

A few minutes later, players started migrating to the dugout rail as they have done in each of the three starts Ryder Jones has made. They are ready to cheer on a rookie’s first big league hit, even if the wait has been an excruciating one for the third baseman. 

Bruce Bochy likes to say that your personality is better when you’re winning, and his players certainly showed that Monday in snapshots here and there. They woke up to a report that there were fractured in the clubhouse, caused in large part by the new closer. They denied it, they met as a group, and then, finally, they won. 

Jeff Samardzija pitched as he has for two months, the top of the lineup came through over and over again, and Brandon Crawford paced a golden night with the gloves. A 9-2 win over the Rockies was just the second since June 11 and it snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Rockies. Any win is meaningful at this point, but this one seemed to mean just a little bit more given the drama of the day. 

“Despite what people might think, we still have a pretty good group here and we get along just fine,” Crawford said. “We’re all rooting for each other.”

It’s one thing to support teammates off the field, and there’s been no indication that the Giants aren’t doing that. It’s quite another to be hand-in-hand between the lines, and for much of this season, Samardzija has been on an island. 

The right-hander has been Bochy’s best pitcher since Madison Bumgarner went down in the hills outside Denver. But he entered Monday with a 2-9 record and 4.74 ERA inflated by faulty defense. He hasn’t grumbled, but he has grown accustomed to the worst, and when Nolan Arenado bounced a ball deep to the hole in shortstop with two on and two outs in the third, Samardzija figured the game was probably tied. 

“I’m thinking maybe they charge it in the outfield and maybe make a play at home,” Samardzija said. “But with a guy like that at shortstop, things change so fast.”

Crawford scooped the ball on the edge of the grass. He would have liked nothing more than to make an otherworldly throw to first to nail his World Baseball Classic teammate, but he knew the best chance was at third. A couple of days ago, Crawford and Jones discussed how the rookie should cover third on such a play. Jones played it perfectly, retreating in time to catch Crawford’s inning-ending throw. 

“The best thing (about Crawford) is he doesn’t even talk about it,” Samardzija said.

No, Crawford put the spotlight on Jones.

“That’s a pretty heads-up play,” he said. “We talked about it and he was there. It was a funny coincidence.”

The play held the lead, and the Giants kept pushing. The top four hitters in the lineup finished with 10 hits, six RBI and six runs. Brandon Belt had an RBI triple in the five-spot. Crawford drove in a run behind him. Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson added insurance from the bottom. Bochy watched it all from the top step and saw a group collectively relax.

“Just quit fighting it so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this offense. There’s no reason they can’t put consistent runs on the board. Tonight I just thought the at-bats were so much better and the focus was. Once it started rolling, guys felt better about themselves, and it just got contagious.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies


SAN FRANCISCO — On a day that started with controversy, Giants players called a meeting following batting practice. Perhaps they were talking about when and where to stretch. Perhaps a reminder was given to keep clubhouse complaints in the actual clubhouse. 

Or, perhaps, the players just decided that enough was enough. 

In a rare display, the Giants put a clean and complete game together. They beat the Rockies 9-2 at AT&T Park, getting just their second win since June 11 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Rockies. 

Jeff Samardzija continued his hot streak, the lineup was opportunistic and flashed some power, and the defense sparkled at times. Here are five things to know from the throwback night … 

—- Samardzija walked off to a standing ovation after throwing 112 pitches. He was charged with two earned in 6 1/3 innings. Ignore the record and ERA for a second — his FIP is 3.37 and his xFIP is 2.95. He really is having a very good and underrated season. 

—- Here’s another one for your Samardzija file: Over the past two months, he has 82 strikeouts and three walks. 

—- It was a good day in the race for another Brandon Crawford Gold Glove. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few in the National League who even approaches Crawford, was traded to the Rays. Crawford added to the reel by gunning a runner down on third and making a nifty spin-and-throw in the fourth to rob Ian Desmond of a hit. 

—- There are nights where Denard Span looks like a game-changer, and this was one of them. He had a single, walk and triple in his first three plate appearances, scoring twice as the Giants built a 5-0 lead. He was spry in center, too 

—- Nolan Arenado was 0 for 4. Apparently that’s legal now. (It was actually his ninth 0 for 4 or worse against the Giants, in 81 games.)

—- Bonus sixth fact since the Giants won a game: Sam Dyson, acquired basically for free, is the new setup man. That didn’t take long, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Dyson gave up a single but struck out the other three batters he faced.