"THIS IS FOR SAN FRANCISCO," MANAGER BRUCE BOCHY SAID ON THE NIGHT OF NOV. 1, minutes after his team had dismantled the Rangers to clinch its altogether improbable World Series title. For 52 years the Giants had played baseball in the city—make that The City—and yet never before had they done what Bochy's team, comprising mostly players who had seemed too old or too young, had just done. Willie Mays's Giants could not do it. Will Clark's Giants could not do it. Barry Bonds's Giants could not do it. Bochy's Giants did it. ¶ Giants baseball: torture was the motto famously adopted by the 2010 Giants for the way they won games in arrhythmia-inducing fashion. And as the team celebrated on the Rangers' infield after the series-ending Game 5, one fan, a little blond boy with a black Brian Wilson beard attached to his chin held aloft a sign from his position behind the visitors' dugout that read: THE TORTURE HAS ENDED.
The Giants were already planning a celebration parade that was to follow a 1½-mile route, south down Montgomery Street, then west along Market Street to Civic Center Plaza. It was the same route on which the team had paraded when it arrived in San Francisco from New York in 1958. Perhaps never before had prolonged torture—not just a season but 52 years of it—concluded so blissfully.
GAME 1 at San Francisco
GIANTS 11, RANGERS 7
THE ATMOSPHERE OUTSIDE AT&T PARK was one of barely controlled chaos, as Giants fans toasted the return of the World Series to San Francisco for the first time since 2002. Inside the stadium the rowdy masses wore long, ropy fake beards in honor of Wilson, and panda hats in honor of Pablo (Kung Fu Panda) Sandoval.
The game had been billed as the pitchers' duel of pitchers' duels, between Giants ace Tim Lincecum and Rangers ace Cliff Lee, and Lincecum was the first to slip. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed a run in the first and second innings, along the way committing a blunder when he fielded a Nelson Cruz grounder and ran Michael Young back to third base though he could have gotten Young out. "It wasn't a very auspicious start there for Timmy," Bochy would say later.
Soon, though, it was Lee and the Rangers who seemed overwhelmed. Lee had entered the Series with a 1.26 career postseason ERA, but in the bottom of the third inning he gave up two runs (albeit one unearned) that tied the score. That ERA skyrocketed in the fifth, when the Giants blew open the game. In that inning Lee yielded four hits and five earned runs, and when manager Ron Washington pulled him after only 4 2/3 innings, Lee sprinted off the mound. "I was missing my fastball, missing my cutter, missing my change—curveball was decent," said Lee. "They had some really good at bats, and I wasn't locating as well."
The Giants—particularly second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who went 4 for 5 with three doubles and three RBIs—continued to feed off their ballpark's hectic energy. The Rangers continued to be thrown off by it. In the top of the eighth, with San Francisco ahead 8-4, Ian Kinsler killed a potential Texas rally when he reached first on a leadoff infield single to second base but rounded the bag, thinking Sanchez's throw had eluded first baseman Aubrey Huff. It had not, and Huff calmly tagged Kinsler out. Then, in the bottom of the inning, Rangers rightfielder Vladimir Guerrero twice misplayed what should have been quotidian singles, allowing the Giants to take extra bags and extend their lead to an insurmountable 11-4. Guerrero's errors were two of Texas's four.
All in all it was wild opener in which two of baseball's most lauded pitching stars combined to allow 10 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings, and theretofore offensively challenged San Francisco ripped off 14 hits. For the Giants the big hits would keep on coming.
GAME 2 at San Francisco