The San Francisco Giants must have been tired of comebacks and elimination games because they left nothing to chance by sweeping the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. It's the franchise's second title in the last three seasons.
It seemed like the only thing most fans and analysts agreed on before the series is that it would last a while. Few people were expecting a sweep, and if they were, it was likely in favor of Justin Verlander and the high-powered Tigers offense.
Instead, the forces of momentum and dominant pitching came together in perfect harmony, allowing the Giants to slam the door shut on another MLB season.
The tone was set in Game 1 when Barry Zito, who finally lived up to his monster contract this postseason, outdueled Verlander and shut down the vaunted Tigers offense. It was the first sign Detroit was unexpectedly facing an uphill battle.
It snowballed from there. Madison Bumgarner rediscovered his regular-season form in Game 2 and Ryan Vogelsong was equally impressive in Game 3, leading to back-to-back shutouts of an offense with the best one-two power punch in baseball.
Through three games, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder had three hits in 19 at-bats with a single run batted in. When you are able to keep those two game-changing sluggers under control, the path to victory becomes a lot more clear.
The importance of Game 4 was vastly understated. Between the Northeast storm that would have likely played a role in getting the next game in, and Verlander's impending start, whenever it did occur, had the potential to turn the entire series around.
As the Giants would attest, momentum plays a huge role in making it through the playoffs and it could have changed dugouts if San Francisco was unable to close things out on Sunday night.
So there was a lot of pressure on ace Matt Cain to close things out, allowing the Giants to return home for a celebration.
The Tigers were able to get their first lead of the series thanks to a two-run homer by Cabrera and Cain was hardly at his best, clearly wearing down in the later innings. But, like the Giants have done all postseason, he found a way to battle through.
Tied through nine, the series hung in the balance heading to extra innings before Marco Scutaro stepped up yet again to deliver a lead by driving in Ryan Theriot. He was the unsung hero every championship team needs.
Sergio Romo finished the series with a dominant bottom of the 10th, using his devastating slider to blow through the Tigers until making Cabrera look clueless with heat to end it.
It's been a crazy journey for the Giants and their fans and now they know how it will end. A championship parade down Market Street on Halloween.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!