For six innings it looks as if he's going to need it. Rangers righty Ryan Glynn, owner of a 5.84 ERA, is peskier than expected. He holds the A's to three hits and refuses to give in to Giambi, walking him three times. But Giambi still makes a contribution. In the top of the fifth, with no score, Oakland starter Tim Hudson gives up a leadoff single to Mike Lamb and then hits Scott Sheldon, giving Texas two base runners for the first time all day. Giambi walks to the mound and says a few words. Hudson gets out of the jam unscathed.
Offering encouragement to a 25-year-old pitcher who's making the biggest start of his life may not seem special, but Giambi is doing more than spouting a few cliches. "I've had long conversations with G about how to help get our pitchers refocused," says A's pitching coach Rick Peterson, whose rotation for much of the second half also featured 23-year-old Mark Mulder and 22-year-old Barry Zito. "He took the initiative to say, 'Rick, what do I need to say to each of those guys?' I only have one trip, so you'll notice he takes many trips and has a nice, calming effect."
Finally, in the seventh, Oakland draws blood when Jeremy Giambi doubles and scores on a single by catcher Ramon Hernandez. Two more runs in the eighth make the final 3-0, and as the A's celebrate their division championship, no one is as emotional as Jason Giambi. His voice cracks as he takes a microphone to address the Coliseum crowd, and he nearly breaks down when he gets on a chair to toast the A's in the clubhouse. The tears welling in his eyes are his way of telling his teammates what they mean to him. Their response tells him what he means to them. "MVP!" they chant, with fists pumping. "MVP!"