Celebrating with Cody Ross near the on-deck circle as the ball curved over the wall, Andres Torres said to his fellow San Francisco Giant, “He told me he was going to do it.”
And it should come to no one’s surprise that Edgar Renteria did. The 35-year old Columbian shortstop who won the World Series for the Florida Marlins 13 years ago as a baby-faced 22-year old delivered again in what might have been the final at-bat of his career.
Cliff Lee was one out away from escaping a jam in the seventh inning.
That threat, which formulated due to one-out singles by Cody Ross and Juan Uribe and the first sacrifice bunt of Aubrey Huff’s 10-year career, turned into a crowd-stunning deficit, as Renteria got just enough of a 2-0 fastball to give the Giants a lead that felt much bigger than 3-0.
The 52,000-plus who packed Rangers Ballpark in Arlington were stunned. On the other side, Giants fans in San Francisco, those in the stands, and those throughout the rest of baseball world rooting for this feel-good story cheered as if the game had been won, as if the World Series had been won.
Lincecum yet again won the battle with Lee, throwing eight brilliant innings.
Nelson Cruz hit a homer off him in the bottom of the seventh but other than that Tiny Tim was lights out, striking out 10 while allowing just two other hits for his fourth victory of these ever-so eventful playoffs.
Wilson made quick work of Texas in the ninth, and after striking out Cruz, rookie catcher Buster Posey leaped from his crouch, sprinted towards the mound, and lunged into the closer’s muscular arms.
The infielders huddled together as home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg signaled strike-three. The outfielders did the same. Lincecum and the rest of the Giants players jumped over the high dugout railing and rushed onto the field while the coaching staff exchanged congratulatory hugs.
A dogpile formed in the middle of the diamond, and soon enough Lincecum was hoisted in the air. It was the biggest moment of the careers of every single Giants player and coach. And it was a World Series celebration that couldn’t have been drawn up any better.
With the San Fransisco capturing their first championship since 1954 and their first by the bay, journeymen and cast-offs are now proudly wearing a gaudy ring they had only hoped they would.
Huff, 33, was signed to a one-year deal last offseason after struggling in 2009 with both Baltimore and Detroit.
Ross was put on waivers by the Florida Marlins in August, was claimed by both the Giants and Padres, picked San Francisco, platooned in the outfield upon arriving, and went on to hit 5 homers in the postseason.
Pat Burrell, who hugged Renteria as he entered the dugout, sat at home for 10 days midway through the summer waiting for a team to call upon being released by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Torres, 32, spent most of 10 seasons in the minor leagues, including the entire 2006, 2007, and 2008 seasons, and was one of their more important players in this his first full season in the bigs.
Renteria, the best Colombian-born player in major league history, made three trips to the disabled list this season, played in only 72 games, and ended up belting the franchise’s biggest home-run since Bobby Thomson won the Pennant in ’51. The list of incredible stories goes on and on.
Now those stories are pouring champagne all over each other and looking forward to the upcoming parade in a certain city in Northern California. This means the baseball series is over.
Edgar Renteria’s career may be over, too. But if it is, he is going out on top with the team on top as well–the San Francisco Giants, made up of a self-proclaimed group of misfits, the second franchise he has helped raise a World Series banner and hoist the World Series trophy.