San Francisco Giants vs. Detroit Tigers: Team Grades from World Series Game 4
For the first time this postseason, the San Francisco Giants found themselves in position to eliminate their opponent rather than playing with their backs against the wall.
With the 3-0 series lead and needing to win just once in the next four games, the Giants sent Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79 ERA in regular season) to the mound to oppose the Detroit Tigers' Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74 ERA in regular season) Sunday evening.
Neither pitcher disappointed and were able to turn the pitching duel over to their bullpens with the score tied at 3-3.
With the game in extra innings, it was San Francisco that was able to come through on a leadoff single by Ryan Theriot, a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Crawford and a clutch RBI single by Marco Scutaro to give the Giants a 4-3 lead.
Then enter Sergio Romio.
The Giants closer would strike out Miguel Cabrera for the final out, giving the Giants their second World Series Championship in the past three years.
Enough stalling, here are the grades for Game 4 of the World Series.
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Trying to stave off elimination and force a Game 5 Monday night, Max Scherzer took the ball for the Detroit Tigers and tossed 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out eight batters.
Drew Smyly and Octavio Dotel combined to pitch the remainder of the seventh inning, both retiring the only batter they'd face in the frame.
Dotel allowed a walk in the eighth inning, but then escaped without allowing another runner to reach base.
Phil Coke came in to pitch for the Tigers in the ninth inning and promptly put the Giants down in order, striking out the side.
Coke was back on the hill for Detroit in the 10th inning and surrendered the go-ahead run to let the Giants take a 4-3 lead.
For the Giants, Matt Cain lasted seven innings. He also allowed three runs, on five hits and two walks. He struck out five Tigers.
Jeremy Affeldt took over for Cain in the eighth inning, and after allowing a walk to Avisail Garcia, he struck out Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young to end the inning.
Affeldt returned to pitch part of the ninth inning, retiring both batters he faced before turning the ball over to Santiago Casilla.
Casilla hit Omar Infante on the hand to put a runner on, but retired the next batter to get out of the inning unscathed.
With the Giants taking a lead in the 10th inning, the ball was in closer Sergio Romo's hands for the 10th inning.
Romo put the Tigers down in order, striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the game and end the Tigers' season.
Final Grade for the Giants Pitching: A
Final Grade for the Tigers Pitching: B+
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As has been the case for the entire World Series, the Giants got on the board first, in the top of the second inning.
Hunter Pence hit a ground-rule double with one out and scored on the following batter when Brandon Belt launched a triple off the right-field wall.
San Francisco added a pair of runs in the sixth inning when Buster Posey, a candidate for NL MVP honors for the regular season, homered and drove in Marco Scutaro.
Detroit was able to take their first lead of the series, albeit a short-lived lead, when Triple Crown-winner Miguel Cabrera connected for his first homer of this World Series, a two-run shot that drove in Austin Jackson and gave Detroit a 2-1 lead at the time.
Delmon Young added a homer in the sixth inning to even the score at 3-3 after the Giants had come back to take a lead earlier in the frame on Posey's long ball.
In the top of the 10th inning, Ryan Theriot led off with a single for the Giants and was moved over into scoring position on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Brandon Crawford. Marco Scutaro delivered a clutch single to center field with two outs to drive in Theriot, giving the Giants a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th inning.
The Tigers left six men on base compared to five for the Giants. Despite hitting the two-run homer, Cabrera was just 1-for-4 on the night and wound up being the final out. Prince Fielder was 0-for-4 in the Series elimination game.
Final Grade for the Giants Offense: A-
Final Grade for the Tigers Offense: B
Major Factor: Bruce Bochy
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Bruce Bochy pulled Matt Cain after seven innings and went to Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt walked Avisail Garcia but came right back to strike out Miguel Cabrera, then Prince Fielder and then Delmon Young, back-to-back-to-back.
Bochy allowed Affeldt to continue in the ninth inning, but pulled his reliever after a deep fly ball that died on the warning track for the second out of the ninth inning.
With Ryan Theriot making his first start at DH, he singled to lead off the 10th inning. Bochy then signaled Brandon Crawford to bunt, moving Theriot over to second base with just one out as the potential World Series-winning run.
The decision to have Crawford bunt turned out huge, as Marco Scutaro delivered an RBI single to drive in Theriot and give the Giants a 4-3 lead with their closer, Sergio Romo, coming into the game with the chance to shut down the Tigers and give the Giants a World Series sweep.
With the substitution of Romo for Santiago Casilla, Bochy also put Joaquin Arias in the game at third base as a defensive replacement for Pablo Sandoval.
The final result? Bochy led the Giants to their second World Series title in three years.
Final Grade for Bruce Bochy: A
Major Factor: Jim Leyland
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Manager Jim Leyland pushed the right buttons following his bullpen moves, bringing in Drew Smyly and then Octavio Dotel in relief of Max Scherzer.
Both pitchers came in and shut down the Giants through the eighth inning.
Leyland then reacted to the Giants' pitching change and pinch hit Avisail Garcia for Quintin Berry to optimize the righty-lefty matchup. Garcia drew a walk and set up Miguel Cabrera in the eighth inning.
It was the right substitution, it just didn't work out thanks to Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young striking out back-to-back-to-back against Affeldt.
Detroit made a bullpen move of their own for the ninth inning, turning to Phil Coke, who promptly matched Affeldt's effort a frame before and struck out all three Giants batters he faced.
The decision to leave Coke in for the 10th inning proved costly for Leyland and the Tigers, though, as he allowed Ryan Theriot to lead off the inning with a single and eventually score on an RBI single by Marco Scutaro with two outs.
Leyland made the right moves, but just as the cliche says, sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way.
Final Grade for Jim Leyland: B
Final Team Grades for Game 4
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In perhaps the most closely fought game of this postseason, the San Francisco Giants walked away with their second World Series victory in three years, beating the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in extra innings for the sweep.
The pitching was excellent on both sides. The offenses did enough to give both teams a chance, but it was San Francisco that came through in the top of the 10th inning, using small ball to push across the winning run.
The victory not only secured the sweep, but it prevented Justin Verlander from getting his second start of the World Series.
The Giants understood that if they let the Series get back to Verlander, it very easily could have been heading back to San Francisco for Games 6 and 7, with Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez also throwing.
Instead, San Francisco celebrates in Detroit with champagne sprayed in the locker room, while the Tigers look on.
Giants fans celebrate in Civic Center Plaza and will await their second parade in three years to shower their team with ovations.
Final Grade for the Giants in Game 4: A
Final Grade for the Tigers in Game 4: B