Renteria's Two HRs Earn World Series MVP Honors

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Renteria's Two HRs Earn World Series MVP Honors

Nov. 1, 2010GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Edgar Renteria felt this joy before. So had Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.

Thirteen years removed from that memorable night in Miami, Renteria became only the fourth player in baseball history with two count 'em, two World Series-winning hits.

"Same emotions. Same feeling. It's unbelievable," he said Monday night after hitting a three-run homer in Game 5 to lift the Giants to their first World Series title since 1954. "It's unbelievable being in that situation."

Renteria was the unanimous pick for World Series MVP following San Francisco's 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers.

His bat quickly was snapped up by the Hall of Fame, possibly the last bat he'll use in a major league career that started back in 1996.

A five-time All-Star, Renteria might retire at 34 following three trips to the disabled list that limited him to a career-low 72 games. He's been playing with a torn biceps he's been feeling more comfortable since it completely ripped.

He wasn't even a starter when the postseason began. Not surprising given he had just three homers and 22 RBIs during the regular season.

"This wasn't his first rodeo in the World Series, either," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The word I got, he was slow at shortstop. He looked like the young Renteria that I seen when he first came over.

After getting the 11th-inning hit against Cleveland that won the 1997 title for Florida and making the final out for St. Louis in Boston's first title since 1918, he stunned the Texas Rangers and their fans with his drive off Cliff Lee. Renteria hit .412 (7 for 17) with six RBIs against the Rangers, lifting his career Series average to .333 (21 for 63) with five doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs.

"Maybe I am more in focus. I know it's a different game because if you make a mistake you're going to pay," he said. "That's why my focus is different, my level is different, and just want to be the guy to do something."

Renteria hit a go-ahead homer off C.J. Wilson in the fifth inning of Game 2, then singled in two runs in the eighth. He added three hits in Game 4, helping the Giants to a 4-0 win and a 3-1 Series lead.

With Lee dominating the Giants in Game 5, Cody Ross and Juan Uribe started the seventh with consecutive singles up the middle, and Aubrey Huff sacrificed for the first time in his 11-season big league career.

Renteria, the No. 8 hitter, told teammate Andres Torres, who was on double deck, that he would hit one out.

"I was joking," Renteria recounted. "But it went out."

With first-base open, Lee got behind 2-0. The next pitch was a cutter that stayed up and over the plate. As the ball rose toward left-center, David Murphy kept speeding back.

"I saw the outfielders running and I said: 'Oh, that has a chance to get in the gap. It has some legs, it could get over,'" Ross recalled. "I looked, and it went over and I jumped really high in the air. I don't normally show emotion when guys hit home runs like that. But this was a special one, especially for him. Just where he came from, not knowing if he was even going to play this year, or next year and possibly thinking about retiring.'

An hour after the game, orange-and-black-clad Giants fans stood behind the third-base dugout at Rangers Ballpark chanting "Don't Retire!" as Renteria conducted interviews.

He didn't start in the division series against Atlanta but was inserted into the lineup in Game 2 of the NL championship series at Philadelphia. Renteria started 10 of the Giants' final 11 games, with Uribe shifting from shortstop to third.

"Well, Edgar has been through it, and I wanted a leader out there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I know how bad Edgar wanted it. 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.' And I couldn't be prouder for him."

Even before Monday, Renteria was one of only two players to get a World Series-ending hit and hit into a World Series-ending out, according to STATS LLC. The other was Goose Goslin, who struck out for Washington against Pittsburgh in 1925, then singled for Detroit against the Chicago Cubs in 1935.

Renteria celebrated with his teammates as they passed the trophy on the infield long after the game was over. Thirteen years after he was the toast of Miami Beach, he's the king of Nob Hill.

"Sat on the bench for four months of the year. Hits two clutch home runs," said Buster Posey, the Giants' 23-year-old rookie catcher, "and is going out a World Series champion."

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

SAN FRANCISCO — With the winning run on second and a bat in his hands, Cory Gearrin allowed himself to dream. He was a second baseman at Mercer University years ago and he entered the night with a 1.000 batting average in the big leagues. Why couldn’t this be his night on the mound and at the plate?

Gearrin stopped on the way to the plate and told Buster Posey that he was going to walk it off. He dug in against right-hander Chad Qualls and waited for the first sinker. He swung over the top of it, but he felt it was a quality hack. And then he missed the next sinker, and then the next. 

“I felt good going into that at-bat,” Gearrin said. “It was fun getting that opportunity. I’ve never faced a sinker like that. I felt like I missed it … by a lot.”

Gearrin can take solace in two facts. First, using his own sinker, he pitched three shutout innings, more than earning his keep, and he was a well-deserved winning pitcher in a 4-3 win over the Rockies that became official one minute after midnight.

Second, perhaps he gave the next hitter, Denard Span, a better view of an opposing pitcher’s repertoire. 

“Yeah ... he gave me a lot of information during that at-bat,” Span said as he laughed. 

Okay, so maybe Gearrin’s contributions were limited to the mound, but oh what a job he did against one of the best lineups in the National League. Span didn’t glean anything from Gearrin’s brief battle, but he didn’t need to. He spat on a changeup and then ripped a sinker into right, allowing Gorkys Hernandez to race home for a 14th-inning victory. 

Span, who is open about his distrust of birds, had spent nearly two hours standing under a circling flock of seagulls. Between pitches, he often dropped his hands onto his knees, looking more eager than anyone for the night to end. 

“Those birds were dropping stuff all around me,” he said. “I was like, you know what man, I don’t got time for this.”

The single gave the Giants back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. It validated so much good work, from the five relievers who got the ball to Gearrin, to the Brandons who turned a snazzy double play in the 11th, to Buster Posey, who twice threw out runners at second in extra innings. Gearrin shouted out the defense in his post game media session. 

“It’s not news to us that we’ve got gold glovers all over the field,” he said. 

The Giants trailed by a pair after Matt Cain hung a curveball to Mark Reynolds, but they chipped away. The Rockies were the jumpier team in extra innings, but every rally was cut down by stellar defense and quality pitches. Gearrin threw 34 of them. 

The veteran right-hander had never before recorded more than six outs in a big league game. He got nine outs Tuesday, giving Bochy one extension after another as he battled to make it through a game shorthanded. With Conor Gillaspie headed to the DL, the Giants had just three position players on the bench. That meant Ty Blach was used as a pinch-runner. Jeff Samardzija pinch-hit in the 11th. Bochy thought of using Matt Moore in the 14th when the pitcher’s spot came up. Hunter Strickland was warming up to pitch the 15th, but …

“I could have hit Moore — I probably should have,” Bochy said, smiling. “But Cory is a pretty good athlete and had a pretty good average going into that at-bat. The numbers swayed me.”

Gearrin got his first career at-bat last season and singled. He has not even taken batting practice since that day, but he was fired up when given the opportunity. He was still so fired up after the Giants chased Span into the outfield that he didn’t mind the fact that his shiny 1.000 batting average has been cut in half. 

“I got to use that line for a year,” he said. “But I’ll gladly sacrifice the 1.000 average for a walk-off win.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This, at long last, is a winning streak. A modest one, but still. 

Denard Span hit a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the 14th inning, giving the Giants a 4-3 win that became official one minute after midnight. The Giants have back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. 

The Giants led early, fell behind on a three-run dinger, and then chipped away until the game went to extras. Buster Posey twice gunned runners down at second to help keep the score tied and the bullpen held tough, with Cory Gearrin throwing three scoreless innings. 

Gearrin had a chance to win it for himself in the 14th, but he struck out with Gorkys Hernandez on second. Span promptly singled. If you’re just waking up for work, here are five things to know from a night when the seagulls outnumbered the humans … 

--- Matt Cain needs an assist on the first run of the night. With Gorkys Hernandez on first, he got a sacrifice bunt down on a two-strike curveball that was headed for the dirt. Hernandez went to second and promptly scored on Denard Span’s single to right. The curveball wasn’t so kind in the sixth. With a runner on, the Giants intentionally walked lifelong nemesis Nolan Arenado to get to Mark Reynolds. Cain hung a curve and Reynolds crushed it to left for a three-run homer. 

--- The Giants got a run back in the sixth when Brandon Crawford’s deep fly allowed Buster Posey to trot in from third. Crawford leads the majors with nine sacrifice flies. He also turned a ridiculous double play that can’t adequately be described, except to say that he should expand his trophy case. 

--- Kelby Tomlinson came off the bench to tie it in the bottom of the eighth. His single to right brought Brandon Belt in from third. Tomlinson is 9 for 27 as a pinch-hitter this season. That’ll keep you on the chartered jets. 

--- Sam Dyson, with a fastball that reached 97 and an infield defense that was just as firm, pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings in extras. What a find. 

--- With the go-ahead run on first and no outs in the 13th, Nolan Arenado put down a sacrifice bunt. That's one of the five best moments of the Giants' season.