Whatever the fate, Giants amaze
As I reach my deadline for today’s Index-Tribune, it doesn’t matter what happened in last night’s Major League Baseball’s National League Championship Series’ seventh and final game between San Francisco and St. Louis – just the matter that there’s a seventh game at all is a testament to the fiercely competitive and gritty Giants.
Facing yet another pair of must-win games, while teetering on the brink of elimination, for just a chance to play for a series title, the Giants responded with unwavering desire and determination behind their No. 4 and No. 5 starters, who pitched not only the games of their lives, but contributed offensively with creative at-bats.
This was after rallying from a two-game deficit in a best-of-five playoff series against the Cincinnati Reds with three-straight impressive team efforts that scored victories and sent them into the best-of-seven-game series for the NL pennant.
Making the feat monumental was the fact that San Francisco lost the first two games at its own AT&T Park, before winning the next three games on the road.
Then, after spotting St. Louis a three-games-to-one advantage, the Giants got a masterful seven-plus-inning elimination-game winning performance by the often-maligned “because of a long-term, high-paying contract ownership was willing to pay” Barry Zito, who saved San Francisco’s postseason with his crafty left-arm.
The southpaw, who earned a Cy Young Award pitching for the Oakland A’s, etched his name in baseball history on both sides of the Bay with his Friday night mound gem in St. Louis that included Zito, on his own, laying down a perfect surprise bunt to plate a key run.
With Zito and a scappy offensive display, the Giants got to return home for Sunday’s sixth game and last night’s deciding seventh game, and they again treated their fans to a large dose of high-level dramatics.
On Sunday night, Ryan Vogelsong – drafted by the Giants and exiled for 10 years from Pittsburg to Japan before returning to San Francisco last season and rising to the occasion to become an all-star – continued to be a San Francisco mound marvel as he, like Zito on Friday, pitched seven-plus brilliant innings for another pivotal win.
Vogelsong, who had a no-hitter going for near five innings, silenced the Cardinals, while adding a career-best nine strikeouts along the way.
Besides the excellent pitching, which includes more stalwart relief pitching from the bullpen, another promising sign for the 2010-champion Giants possibly reaching their second World Series in the past three years is the fact that they’re winning without their offense totally working on all cylinders.
But, that’s what’s so exciting about the whole crazy scenario – the San Francisco offense is some-how getting it done to reward its great pitching, and the hitters who’ve been often missing on the stat sheets, are primed to wake from the freeze to put up some hot numbers.
Hopefully, today we’re all celebrating the fact that the National League champion San Francisco Giants are playing the mighty Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
If that’s not the scenario, and the St. Louis Cardinals managed to stave off a major collapse and are in the World Series, I refer to the beginning of my column.
“It doesn’t matter what happened in last night’s Major League Baseball’s National League Championship Series’ seventh and final game between San Francisco and St. Louis – just the matter that there’s a seventh game at all is a testament to the fiercely competitive and gritty Giants.”