Renteria Delivers Another Clutch World Series Hit

Renteria Delivers Another Clutch World Series Hit

Oct. 28, 2010GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMLB POSTSEASON

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Edgar Renteria delivered another big World Series hit that could provide a fitting bookend to his career.

Renteria broke up a scoreless game with a solo homer off C.J. Wilson in the fifth inning and added a two-run single in the eighth Thursday night to help the Giants beat the Texas Rangers 9-0 in Game 2 to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series.

"He knows that he's almost at the end of his career and he wanted to be in the playoffs," hitting coach Hensley Meulens said. "Once we got here, he wanted to go to the big dance one more time. There's no bigger time that we needed him and he's getting big hits."

Renteria's most famous moment came as a 22-year-old with Florida in 1997, when he hit a game-ending single off Charles Nagy with two outs in the 11th inning of Game 7 to give the Marlins a 3-2 win over Cleveland and their first World Series title.

"Everything happened to me great in that game, the hit in '97," Renteria said. "Today I was happy. I was proud and I know my family's proud, too."

Renteria ended another World Series in less celebratory fashion, hitting a comebacker for the final out in Boston's World Series sweep of St. Louis in 2004 that gave the Red Sox their first title since 1918.

With Renteria mulling retirement at the end of the season, he did his best to help another franchise move a step closer to ending a long championship drought. The Giants have not won the World Series since moving to San Francisco for the 1958 season.

They need to win two more games to get that elusive title. With the next three games in Texas, the Giants could return home as champions.

"He kept telling us we needed him all the way to the end. He wasn't lying," Meulens said. "As a professional and a 15-year veteran in this game, he's showing what he's all about. He's all about business, he's all about playing in big games. He's done it before. As a rookie in Florida he got a big hit for them to win. He was in the World Series with the Cardinals and obviously today with that big home run to put us on the board."

Renteria was an unlikely contributor, considering he started the playoffs on the bench after another rough regular season fill with injuries and lack of production.

But he worked his way back into the lineup and made his biggest contribution with San Francisco on the game's biggest stage. With Wilson and Matt Cain locked in a scoreless duel, Renteria stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the fifth.

Wilson left an 0-1 pitch up in the zone and Renteria made him pay for the mistake by driving it into the left-field seats. Renteria had gone 53 straight at-bats without a home run since connecting off the Los Angeles Dodgers' Ted Lilly on Sept. 4 and had not homered at AT&T Park since July 27 against Florida's Brian Sanches.

"Unbelievable. You guys know I have power," he joked. "He just threw me a fastball in and I just put a good swing on the ball."

Renteria wasn't done, hitting a two-run single in a seven-run eighth that extended the lead to 6-0.

Renteria has mostly been a disappointment since signing an 18.5 million, two-year deal with the Giants before last season. He hit just .250 last season and then was limited to 72 games this year because of three stints on the disabled list with a groin, hamstring and biceps injury.

He batted .276 with three homers and 22 RBIs and was somewhat of a forgotten man at the start of the postseason. He did not start in the first five games before getting a chance because of a wrist injury to Juan Uribe and the struggles from Pablo Sandoval.

He singled and scored the Giants first run in a Game 3 win over Philadelphia in the NL championship series, and added a hit and two runs scored in the World Series opener.

Meulens said managing partner Bill Neukom has repeatedly approached Renteria to keep him on track which Meulens believes lifted Renteria's spirits.

"Mr. Neukom tells him, 'We're not done with you,'" Meulens said. "Mr. Neukom is a big fan or Edgar and every day he tells him."

Renteria has a lot more fans in San Francisco now.

Giants Notes: Blach shows resiliency; Another option in center?

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Giants Notes: Blach shows resiliency; Another option in center?

CHICAGO — John Lackey's night started with a leadoff homer. Ty Blach's night started with a 13-pitch battle. Neither one is a positive for a pitcher, but Blach didn't view it that way. He actually appreciated Ben Zobrist stretching him out.

"It's good to have a battle like that and get you locked in," Blach said. "It gets you focused and you'll be like, I can execute and get guys out. It's good. It's a good battle."

There, in a nutshell, is so much of what Bruce Bochy loves about his young left-hander. The Giants have found Blach's arm and resolve to be remarkably resilient. He wasn't bothered when they moved him to the bullpen and he didn't get too high when they moved him back to the rotation. He is the same after seven shutout innings or three poor ones. Bochy smiled when asked about the Zobrist at-bat, which ended in a strikeout looking. 

"How 'bout that?" the manager said. "He won that at-bat. It seems like the advantage goes to the hitter, seeing all those pitches. He kept his focus and got a called strikeout and here he is pitching in the eighth inning."

After needing 13 pitches for one out, Blach got the next 23 on 81 pitches. Bochy thought Blach tired a bit in the eighth, but the deep effort allowed Bochy to mix and match in the bullpen, and ultimately he found the right mix. Hunter Strickland and Mark Melancon closed it out and got Blach his second win.

--- From last night, Joe Panik's huge night helped give Blach an early lead. With the help of Ron Wotus and his shift charts, he also put on a show defensively.

--- We're trying something new right after the final pitch: Here are five quick takeaways from the 6-4 win.

--- The options game sent Kelby Tomlinson back to Triple-A on Wednesday when the Giants activated Melancon, but his latest stint in Sacramento comes with a twist. Tomlinson started his third consecutive game in center field on Monday. The Giants are getting a bit more serious about their longtime plan to make Tomlinson a super-utility player. 

“Tommy is a valuable guy in the majors and if we can give him some experience in the outfield, it gives you more flexibility and versatility,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

This is not Tomlinson’s first foray into the outfield. He did work there in the offseason after the 2015 season and he has played 25 big league innings in left field the last two seasons. This is Tomlinson’s first real experience with center field, and while in the past he has said that the transition isn’t as easy as some might think, Bochy is confident Tomlinson can figure it out. He certainly has the speed to be a semi-regular in the outfield, and the Giants aren’t exactly brimming with quality center field options behind Denard Span, who is dealing with his second injury of the season. 

“It’s a little different now,” Bochy said when asked about Tomlinson’s past experiences in the outfield. “He’s in Sacramento doing it, and knowing there’s a possibility we could need help in the outfield.”

If the switch doesn’t come in handy this season, it could in 2018. Bochy compared Tomlinson’s infield-outfield ability to Eduardo Nuñez, who has found regular playing time in left but is a free agent after the year. 

--- Hunter Pence did some light running in the outfield before Monday’s game. Bochy said Pence is still about a week away from being an option.

--- Bochy has said it a few times now when asked about the standings, so it’s officially a new motto for a team that got off to a brutal start: “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation for a great story.”

--- They're starting to get a little grumpy around here with their team hovering around .500. Perhaps the Cubs thought they could fool a few on the way out of Wrigley.

Agony still present, Kerr uncertain if he can coach Warriors in NBA Finals

Agony still present, Kerr uncertain if he can coach Warriors in NBA Finals

SAN ANTONIO -- Those following the Warriors and their effort to rage through the playoffs should put away those thoughts and hopes that Steve Kerr will return to full-time coaching later this week or sometime before the NBA Finals.

Forget about it, unless you know something he doesn’t.

And if you do, he wants to hear what you have to say.

Don’t get it wrong: Kerr wants to coach, would love to coach. That’s why, even as he feels like hell, he’s hanging around the team like a languid groupie. He wants to be with the Warriors in the heat of battle because they’re his team, within the culture he instilled, and he would like nothing more to get another chance to win The Finals.

But because the procedure he underwent more than two weeks ago at Duke Spine Center did not deliver the relief he’d hoped for, Kerr knows he’s not up to the task and, therefore, continues to operate as sort of a associate head coach to acting head coach Mike Brown.

“Mike is doing great,” Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com late Monday night, after the Warriors clinched a third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals with a 129-115 Game 4 win over the Spurs. “He’s such a wonderful human being. He’s so unselfish and team-oriented. I’m proud of him and the job he’s doing, along with the rest of the staff. I wish I could be out there with them. And maybe I will. I don’t know. We’ll see.

“He’s a great partner. And we’re in this together, obviously, but he’s got to make decisions with the staff without me. He’s done a great job of navigating the games. We’re undefeated, so he’s doing something right.”

Kerr can only help from the perimeter. The demands of the job require the coach be able to function at near-peak levels, particularly before and during a game, and he simply can’t. He knows there will be times, all too often, when the discomfort becomes unbearable to such a degree he hardly can think straight.

The agony is visible. The players see it. The staff sees it. Brown sees it, feels it and hears it. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of Kerr’s best friends -- as well as a good friend of Brown -- was able to see it during the Western Conference Finals.

“I've spoken with Steve and Mike; we're friends,” Popovich said two hours before Game 4. “We've known each other a long time. But as far as Steve's concerned, it's just a crap situation.

“You know, he's done a phenomenal job. And when you're going through that pain every day and that frustration of not being able to do what you want to do, it's hard to enjoy it at the fullest level. So I feel badly for him all the time but hopeful that stuff will get figured out.”

Nobody wants that more than Kerr, who has tried nearly everything any respectable specialist has recommended. So far, there has been no miracle.

So Kerr forges ahead, getting his Warriors fix by being around the group. By meeting with coaches and players. By meeting with general manager Bob Myers. Kerr was with the Warriors throughout their stay in San Antonio. He was at practices and shootarounds, sometimes on the floor and sometimes sitting in the stands observing from afar.

“I need to be around the guys,” he said. “I don’t want to miss this. Just being in the locker room, being able to talk to the guys means a lot to me. I’m thrilled for them. It’s fun to see how happy they are with three straight trips to The Finals. It’s pretty incredible.”

Kerr has been with the team for at least a few hours every day since May 10, less than a week after his procedure at Duke.

Kerr’s presence has been invaluable, both physically and psychologically, according to staff and players.

“Coach just empowers everybody,” Kevin Durant said. “His message is still the same. Even when he wasn't there in the Utah series, you could still feel his presence. That's what great leaders do.”

Participation, making himself feel useful, is one form of therapy that gives Kerr a semi-satisfying break from the misery.

“He watches film, and he watches the game,” Brown said. “So he gives his perspective from where he is. He gives insight on what we should be doing going forward, what he felt we could have done better, what we did that was good. So he just gives his input, mainly. He addresses the team every once in a while. He doesn't always do that, but he'll address the team from time to time.”

There was some belief that Kerr could return to full-time coaching within a week or so after the procedure, for which he declined to provide details. Warriors CEO Joe Lacob expressed hope Kerr might return “sooner rather than later.” Had it been as successful as Kerr and the doctors hoped, he would have.

That was May 5. Kerr announced he was stepping aside on April 23. As of Wednesday, he was been on leave for a full month.

Asked if he plans to travel during the NBA Finals, Kerr said he hopes so: “It’s like a month away,” he said, exaggerating the nine-day layoff.

He’d rather say with certainty that, yes, he will be accompanying the team because, after all, he’s the head coach.

And he will say that, the moment his body tells him it’s OK to do so.