Giants’ focus on pitching proves right again, but with a new cast

Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesCatching fire: Catcher Buster Posey

Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesCatching fire: Catcher Buster Posey

The Giants’ championship formula is a familiar one, just with new faces all over the diamond two years later: stellar starting pitching backed by a shut-down bullpen, a late-season surge and a manager making all the right moves.

San Francisco captured its second World Series title in three seasons with a stunning sweep of the Tigers, and only catcher Buster Posey was in the lineup for the Game 5 clincher in 2010 at Texas and also the finale at Comerica Park in 2012.

“We’re just happy right now,” Posey said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Two of the four games against Detroit were started and won by a pair of pitchers not even on the World Series roster in 2010, and in Ryan Vogelsong’s case he wasn’t even in the majors back then.

The only regular still around from that team is Posey, and the catcher had to rebound from devastating ankle and leg injuries sustained in a home-plate collision in late May 2011 to put together an MVP-caliber season and become the NL batting champ. He played far more than anybody envisioned his body would allow.

This time, a couple of bench warmers from that last October run shined for San Francisco — MVP Pablo Sandoval and Game 1 winner Barry Zito. The lefty Zito was left off the postseason roster for all three rounds in 2010.

“Just as a player, certainly you want to play on a team that wins the World Series. And to go out there and contribute, there’s nothing like that,” Zito said.

Marco Scutaro and Hunter Pence were this year’s midseason additions, with Scutaro following up Cody Ross in 2010 to earn NL Championship Series MVP honors. While Scutaro produced the timely hits, including a go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th inning of Sunday’s 4-3 win, Pence did plenty and became the motivational speaker of this group. He reminded his teammates to keep the focus even when they jumped out to a surprising 3-0 Series lead against the Tigers.

These Giants showed they could rally back — again and again — and also thrive when playing out in front.

They fell behind 2-0 to the Cincinnati Reds in the division series, then became the first team in major league history to rally back in a five-game series by winning three straight road games. They did it again against the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, erasing a 3-1 deficit thanks largely to Zito’s Game 5 victory at Busch Stadium that sent the Giants back to the Bay Area to finish it off in San Francisco.

Six victories in six elimination games.

“The thing that made this team so special is just playing as a team, caring for each other,” Pence said.
San Francisco ended the season on a seven-game winning streak.

Reliever George Kontos summed it up the best he could in one Twitter post late Sunday:

“WORLD…..SERIES…..CHAMPS!!!! That’s all that needs to be said… This team is special…. We did what no other team could.”

AT&T ParkGiantsMLBSan FranciscoSan Francisco Giants

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

Christina Najjar, 30, a TikTok star known online as Tinx, is one of the social media influencers tapped by the White House to help promote COVID-19 vaccines among young people. (Alyson Aliano/The New York Times)
How an ‘influencer army’ is fighting vaccine lies

By Taylor Lorenz New York Times Ellie Zeiler, 17, a TikTok creator… Continue reading

A great white shark swims off Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. The term “shark attack” is slowly disappearing, at least as a phrase used by researchers and officials who have been rethinking how to describe the moments when sharks and humans meet. (Benjamin Lowy/The New York Times)
Don’t call them ‘shark attacks,’ scientists say

By Alan Yuhas New York Times On the beaches of Northern California,… Continue reading

Vickie Gaddy, a nurse at the intensive care unit, with a 44-year-old patient who later died, at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, July 27, 2021. Doctors at the hospital say more younger people with COVID-19 are being sent to the ICU. (Isadora Kosofsky/The New York Times)
New COVID surge at a California ICU: ‘When will this ever end?’

By Isadora Kosofsky and Shawn Hubler New York Times Two months ago… Continue reading

Most Read