World Series Game 4: San Francisco Sweeps

It took four games, but the World Series finally produced a high-caliber baseball game on both sides, as San Francisco and Detroit traded jousts for ten innings. In the end, the result was a familiar one though—the Giants got the key hits, and with a 4-3 win San Francisco completes a four-game sweep and secures its second World Series title in three years.

Unlike the previous night when it was Detroit missing chances, San Francisco let the home team hang around. The Giants picked up a run in the second, but it could have been more.  After Brandon Belt tripled in a run he stood at second with one out. But the Tigers brought the infield in—a sign of how hard runs have been to come by for the Detroit offense—and got a grounder to second from Gregor Blanco that held the runner, and escaped the inning at 1-0.

Miguel Cabrera has been the one Detroit hitter who swung a respectable bat in this Series. We noted yesterday how the stats aren’t going to show it, because he had three at-bats that were scorched, but ended up as outs and in a sample size this small, you can’t overcome that. But the Triple Crown winner did one find way around that—he just drilled an opposite-field home run in the third to make it 2-1. It was the first time all Series that the Tigers had the lead.

If one presumptive MVP in Cabrera delivered in the third, it was time the other presumptive MVP to do it in the sixth. Buster Posey hit a two-run blast to left that made it 3-2. We won’t know until November that Posey and Cabrera won the MVP awards, but it’s hard to imagine anything other and it was an appropriate finish to the baseball season to see them both come up big.

Delmon Young quickly tied it with a home run of his own in the bottom of the sixth at 3-3 and with two outs, Jhonny Peralta hit one a long way to left, but Blanco found room on the warning track.

As the game entered the late innings, it would have been easy to think that only Detroit was feeling the pressure. And while the math of the Series makes a certain part of that true, you have to think San Francisco didn’t want any part of giving Justin Verlander another chance on the mound in a Game 5, and a Verlander win would have at least made the Series competitive again.

No one knows better than the Giants about the need to step on a team’s throat when you have a chance and Jeremy Affeldt delivered a big-time pitching effort in the eighth. After he walked Avisail Garcia to start the inning, the reliever promptly blew away Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Young in succession.

It was the last at-bat in a brutal Series for Fielder who hit .071 in the four games against San Francisco and only a  buck-73 in the 13 postseason games his team played. Let’s just say it’s a good thing Prince signed that big-money contract in a Midwestern city that’s a little more forgiving than New York might have been.

Ryan Theriot led off the San Fran 10th with a single and was bunted over. With two outs it was Marco Scutaro at the plate. In recent years, Theriot has escaped the Cubs while Scutaro has escaped the Red Sox and then the Rockies. Now they would be a part of some good history, as Scuatro singled in Theriot with the run that won a championship.

Pablo Sandoval’s Game 4 was quiet, at 1-for-5, but he had enough of a cushion to still be voted World Series MVP. The three home runs in Game 1 gave his candidacy the sizzle, but don’t forget he had good games in Games 2 & 3, hit .500 for the Series and had a sterling defensive play at a key moment in Game 2. The only other candidate would have been Sergio Romo, the closer who saved the last three games at scores of 2-0, 2-0 and 4-3. But I would concur that Sandoval had to be the choice for the way he set the tone and then kept hitting.

Congratulations to the entire San Francisco team. Posey now has played three years in the majors and only finished two of them, due to the broken leg early in 2011. Both years that he’s finished have ended in World Series champagne. As Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera move to exit, do we have a new October legend on our hands out west? And as ESPN Radio commentators Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser noted, manager Bruce Bochy will start to get talked about with the other high-level leaders in the game.

Now to the city of San Francisco itself—as sports fans get set to watch the 49ers play the Cardinals tonight, we have to consider that Frisco is poised for a World Series-Super Bowl sweep. How often has that happened. That’s only happened in 1970 (Baltimore), 1979 (Pittsburgh), 2004 (Boston) and we can give partial credit to New York in 1986 with the Mets and Giants. I only give partial credit here since the Big Apple doubles down on both sports and most fans split on a Yankees/Giants, Jets/Mets tandem.

San Francisco now has a shot at sports history as we move toward the second part of the NFL season. But for today, we’ll let them just enjoy sitting on top of the baseball world.