ARLINGTON, Texas — One more win.
The San Francisco Giants could win the World Series tonight with one more win after shutting down the Texas Rangers 4-0 on a Halloween night when thousands of Texans wore red – but the evening wound up bathed in orange and black.
It was quiet here when it ended at 10:29 local time Sunday night – as lonesome and forlorn as any Roy Orbison song.
How it happened was, in many ways, a textbook replication of how the Giants have reached the doorstep of a championship.
It began with a young pitcher, the youngest one they have in Madison Bumgarner – a 21-year-old rookie who handcuffed one of the most potent teams in baseball for eight scoreless innings.
Oh, to be young and have the world by the lapels.
With big-league children calling and executing the pitches to disarm skilled and aggressive Texas bats, the Giants position players scooped up almost every grounder, ran down some blazing fly balls and seemed to be in the perfect spot the few times a Ranger hitter connected.
“I don’t think that (the Giants) could have envisioned that all the pitches Bumgarner made – that we hit – would (be caught by Giants players in the right spots),” said Ron Washington, the dejected Rangers manager. “We smoked some ball, and the outfielders were pretty athletic.“
Sanchez turned a sweet double play to end the first by fielding a Josh Hamilton grounder screaming toward his throat. He caught a laser beam off the bat of right fielder Jeff Francoeur to end the second, stranding a Ranger runner. He fielded another hot smash off the bat of Hamilton in the fourth inning to toss out a runner at second.
He started another double play to end the sixth.
That was it. Those plays sum up the only Ranger chances. The rest was all Bumgarner.
“I don’t know, I just kept telling myself to relax,” Bumgarner said. “And I’ve told myself so much, it’s starting to become like second nature … . I think it makes it easier on me and the players, I think, to see somebody that’s relaxed out there throwing. That’s it, I guess.”
Bumgarner’s words and demeanor were so quintessentially baseball. He is the gifted, laconic son of the South who is so interwoven into the game. The lad is from working-class roots in North Carolina. Posey is from Georgia and is as practical and unflappable as they come.
It was Posey’s prodigious eighth-inning home run to center field that made it 4-0. In tandem with Bumgarner, the poise of these kids left old Giants hands feeling wistful and spry in their old age.
“Bumgarner doesn’t need to trick anyone because his stuff is awesome,” said Alou of Bumgarner’s riddle of changeups, sliders and a tough fastball.
“A team is not necessarily built of great players playing together … this is a team.”
First baseman Aubrey Huff proved Alou’s point by launching a two-run homer when it was most needed – in the third inning when Rangers starter Tommy Hunter needed to be put away before he righted himself.
Center fielder Andres Torres scored the other Giants run with a double.
It all began in a cauldron of Texas yearning in a moment the home team knew they needed to seize in order to even this series at 2-2 and strengthen their odds of ultimate victory.
It ended with Giants closer Brian Wilson snuffing out the Texas night.
One more win.
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Here’s a cool story about the SF Giants that I thought was worth sharing with everyone.