World Series Game 5 blog
ARLINGTON, Texas -- SI's Joe Lemire provides ongoing commentary and analysis throughout tonight's World Series Game 5 between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers.
Instant analysis from the Giants 3-1 victory in Game 5 to win the World Series:
This is the Giants' first World Series title since moving to San Francisco in 1958. They had won five previous championships back when they called New York home, last winning in 1954.
By virtue of his three-run homer in the seventh -- his second game-winning RBIs of this series and second series-winning RBIs of any World Series, having won the 1997 series -- shortstop Edgar Renteria was named Series MVP. He batted 7-for-17 with two homers, six RBIs and six runs in the series.
Tim Lincecum was brilliant, throwing 71 of his 101 pitches for strikes and getting 16 swing-and-miss strikes, 10 of them on his slider, a pitch he only fully incorporated into his arsenal over the past month. He struck out 10 while allowing only three hits, two walks and one run.
Seven of the last eight World Series now have ended in four or five games.
Turns out Brian Wilson was a great choice for the ninth inning. He struck out Josh Hamilton, induced a harmless groundout from Vladimir Guerrero and then struck out Nelson Cruz to end the game and the World Series -- the Giants are champs.
Wow. Neftali Feliz was so dominant one has to wonder why he didn't get a chance to pitch in Game 1 or 2 of this series when the Rangers also trailed late in the game, before giving up too many insurance runs. If Texas rallies, perhaps they'll have a new game plan. But in three outs, it could be moot.
With the bottom of the eighth inning cleared, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has a three-choice question to answer for the ninth inning. Does he keep starter Tim Lincecum in the game to finish his dominant performance? Does he go to closer Brian Wilson for the final three outs? Or, with lefty Josh Hamilton leading off, does he go to left-handed specialist Javier Lopez?
The vote here is to keep Lincecum -- who's thrown only 101 pitches and against whom Hamilton is 0-for-6 this series -- on the mound but with Wilson and Lopez warming. Bring in Wilson if a runner reaches second base, and have Lopez ready just in case, maybe for lefty David Murphy, due up fifth in the inning.
Even though Cliff Lee basically made just one bad pitch in the seventh, Texas manager Ron Washington removed him from the game without even letting him start the eighth. Washington made the signal to closer Neftali Feliz, presumably to let him pitch the next two innings.
What's odd is that Feliz has only pitched two full innings three times this season, and Lee had thrown only 95 pitches. Why not let Lee start the inning with Feliz warming in the bullpen in case of trouble?
Nelson Cruz's solo home run was obviously a much-needed run for the Rangers to start to -- pun sadly intended -- claw back. (I don't know how to work "antler" into that sentence.) But the Ian Kinsler walk is also important for two reasons: A few more pitches off Tim Lincecum and another spot cycled through the lineup. That extra spot ensures that Cruz will get another at bat and, even if Texas goes 1-2-3 in the eighth, its slumping middle-of-the-order hitters (Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero and Cruz) will get an extra shot at redemption.
I don't even know how to look it up, but I think it's safe to say that Edgar Renteria is carving out a one-man fraternity, if this score holds up, thanks to his three-run homer: two World Series game-winning RBIs and one World Series-ending out. He famously singled home the winning run for the Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series and also made the final out in 2004 Game 4 as the Cardinals lost to the Red Sox.
It's hard to second guess pitting one's ace against an NL team's No. 8 hitter -- especially one who hit .276 with only three homers in the regular season -- but with first base open, Cliff Lee might have been smart to either intentionally walk the recently red-hot Renteria or at least nibble around the edges more carefully, with Aaron Rowand on deck. Rowand has started just seven games since Sept. 1.
The pre-Series hype was that the Rangers' big bats were their key advantage over the Giants. Yet Josh Hamilton, who grounded out with a runner on and two outs to end the sixth, is 2-for-19, while Vladimir Guerrero is 1-for-12 and Nelson Cruz is 3-for-18. Collectively, they are 6-for-49 -- a .122 average.
The second base bag looks lonely. Not as lonely as third base, of course, because at least at second some fielders have touched the bag on a fielder's choice and a double play. But no baserunner has reached second base, a fact ensured by Texas rightfielder Nelson Cruz's leaping catch against the wall to take away an extra-base hit from Giants catcher Buster Posey.