By Michael Tapia
Madison Bumgarner put the San Francisco Giants one step away from becoming world champions after 56 years; the last time the franchise won the World Series they were the New York Giants and played in Harlem’s Polo Grounds. While playing in California the Giants made it to the big dance three times before this year’s edition and in all three occasions defeated. The first debacle happened in 1962 when they lost against the New York Yankees, the second time was against their neighbors across the bay, the Oakland Athletics in 1989 and the last occurred in 2002 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Now, the Giants are closer than ever of becoming world champions again as they lead the series over the Rangers 3-1 and are only win away from winning the World Series. After losing on Saturday 4-2, the Giants bounced back on Sunday on the back of young left-hander Madison Bumgarner who pitched eight scoreless innings for the 4-0 win.
In Saturday’s game, the Rangers took charge early in the game scoring three runs in the second inning. The Rangers got ahead thanks to a home run from Mitch Moreland who had Nelson Cruz and Bengie Molina on base (3-0).
Jonathan Sanchez settled down until the top of the 5th inning when Josh Hamilton took him deep to right field with a 432 feet solo home run. After giving up the home run to Hamilton, Sanchez walked Vladimir Guerrero, which caused Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy to pull him from the game. Sanchez’s night ended after 4 2/3 innings pitched giving up for four runs in six hits and only striking-out three.
Cody Ross who has been exuberant in this postseason hit a solo homer in the top of the 7th inning, for the 4-1 score. Ross has been one of San Francisco’s greatest offensive contributors with five homeruns, 10 rbi in 15 hits this postseason. In the following inning, the Giants threatened again when Freddy Sanchez hit a solo home run to right field making the score 4-2. Two batters later, Lewis hit Aubrey Huff with a pitch and ended his night after a good 7 2/3 innings performance giving up just two runs in five hits and striking-out six. In the end, the Rangers prevailed and the game ended with a 4-2 final score.
Sunday evening was a different story as the Giants revamped and pushed the Rangers to the edge with a 4-0 victory. Madison Bumgarner proved why he was the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft pitching a dazzling eight-inning shutout where the Rangers could not get a grip. Bumgarner simply dominated the Rangers relegating them to just three hits and striking-out six batters.
The progressed very quiet through its first two innings when in the top of the third, Freddy Sanchez went yard with Andres Torres on base opening the score 2-0. Tommy Hunter who has struggled this postseason only lasted four innings after giving up five hits, one walk and one home run for two earned runs.
Later in the game, with a struggling Darren Oliver on the mound Torres hit a double that scored Edgar Renteria extending the lead 3-1. In the top of the 8th the Giants continued to torment the Rangers when Buster Posey hit a solo homer off Darren O’Day for the 4-0 final.
With the win, the Giants are on the brink of annihilating the Rangers’ dreams of becoming champions for the first time in franchise history. If the Giants win Game 5 tonight, it will be their sixth championship but first as the San Francisco Giants, as they have not won since they left New York.
Tim Lincecum will be fighting for his first World Series ring while Cliff Lee will be valiantly battling for dear life in this do or die duel for the Rangers. This encore of Game 1’s pitching match-up should be far more exciting with Cliff Lee having his back against the wall for the first time in these playoffs. Expect Lee to bring his best stuff and make better use of his arsenal than he did in Game 1.
Game 5 is scheduled for tonight at 7:57 PM from the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.