There are moments, often times in the postseason that legends are born and stories are written, when a team is most noticeable for assembling a spectacular sequence in October. Just a few weeks ago, the San Francisco Giants were seen in a tight, tense race with the San Diego Padres, but clinched a playoff berth and since then the club has been a magical story in a wonderful reemergence.
It’s nice to envision a potential World Series involving the Giants, a polished ballclub located near arguably one of the most famous bridges and near the hilly streets where trolleys roam. If this has been a dull season, it certainly seems as if the Giants enriched the essence of a sport in oblivion. It would be the most epic narrative in baseball, bigger than the exhilarating joyride in 2002 when Barry Bonds anchored the coolest lineup in team history, if the Giants are successful and arouse us with a miracle.
It can happen, now that San Francisco controls its own destiny in the National League Championship Series, to place fear in the hearts of Philly fans who believed in the Philadelphia Phillies for building a vicious pitching staff. The most successful project, nevertheless, turns out to be incompetent for the Phillies, while the rest of us ignores and underestimates the Giants collection of a talented pitching staff.
The night eventually ended when Juan Uribe hit a game-winning sacrifice fly off reliever Roy Oswalt with one out in the ninth inning, and suddenly a distressing night erupted into the most electric, wildest, and craziest towel-swinging celebration in the stands. Filled with elation, the crowd witnessed a San Francisco Treat on the night the Giants inched a game closer to immortality, one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2002.
At game’s end, the Giants secured a 6-5 win in Game 4 of the NLCS that gave the ballclub a commanding 3-1 lead. If there was something striking during the contest, it was the Giants capability to dauntlessly outplay the Phillies on Pablo Sandoval’s go-ahead double in the sixth. The powerful bat of Kung Fu Panda is truly a component to the Giants in order to survive and possibly win a title, and certainly his lethal hitting contributed in a dynamic finish.
It wouldn’t be fair to deny that San Francisco exhibits parity and vividly has sturdy weapons to withstand the challenge this fall. Suddenly, the Phillies are vulnerable of losing and looked unbeatable coming into the NLCS with three unhittable aces in the top of the rotation.
But as it seems, the Giants rotation has outdueled the Phillies high-profile aces -- untouchable with a pair of aces in Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, the Freak of nature who had a sensational 14 strikeout extravaganza in a Game 1 win. The Giants had a stretch of 18 games allowing three or fewer runs, the longest streak since 1917. And on such an astonishing night, the reliability of an unmatched pitching staff prevailed as well as splendid hitting.
Sandoval is known for swinging wildly at every pitch, but it was one particular at-bat that may have been enormous for him to rediscover his swagger and produce some runs. If he was choking in the greatest series of his lifetime, Sandoval finally vanquished a displeasing slump. For once in the series, he sizzled on the most exciting hit, he had an ebullient demeanor and he came alive with a championship on the line. For once, he played as if he was a ferocious PANDA, fiercely anxious to eliminate the Phillies from an unimaginable story.
The injury to Uribe's painful left wrist kept him out of two games, but he wasn’t bothered by the soreness and somehow swung on a fastball to notch the game-winning hit. It happened to be a bone-chilling night at AT&T Park, but feverish spectators weren’t quivering from the chills. Instead, the Giants faithful were intensified and impressed by rookie catcher Buster Posey. Each time he appeared at the plate, he was very disciplined and had patience, and had four hits batting in the cleanup spot.
It certainly was the best game of his impressive career, in a contest that he drove in the Giants first two runs with two outs in the first and third inning to set the tone early, even though they lost the lead at one point. As he clearly changed the complexion of the game in the late innings with a critical hit in the ninth, Posey lifted his batting average from 0.91 to .313 and stopped a run from scoring on a dramatic play at home plate in the fifth. As it happened, center fielder Aaron Rowand perfectly threw on a short hop to Posey and tagged out Carlos Ruiz at home. What a night, a night indeed of a growing team, which could very well muster a dynasty just as they manufacture runs.
“What a great night he had,” Bruce Bochy said of his rookie phenom.
So he really is part of the Giants future arrangements after all, a versatile catcher with strength in his bat and speed to run the bases. So are Cody Ross and Pat Burrell, two studs who gave the Giants runs earlier in the series. There is a sense, of course, that Ross is the slugger of this team, the man who dreamed of being a rodeo clown as a kid. But instead he’s most famous in the majors, the accidental star claimed off waivers in recent weeks, and wasn’t nearly as transcendent or valuable in the Giants lineup.
Once it ended, Uribe felt relieved and surely endured the pain. And the win alone may have eased the pain a bit, heckled by ecstatic teammates as the fireworks brightened up the clear skies. At the age of 31, Uribe, who was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, won a crucial one for the Giants and Posey was needful in many ways. As a newborn player, he was the first Giants rookie to muster four hits in a playoff game since Freddy Lindstorm in 1924.
Asked about his emotions following the game-winning hit, he clearly was overjoyed and celebrated the moment with his teammates.
“I got a whole lot of happy,” he said.
Sure, he did.
On the brink of elimination, the Phillies are sending Roy Halladay, who incredibly pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds and piloted Philadelphia past the first round. But then, Lincecum will take the mound against the Phillies ace and will try to close it out at home. It wasn’t too pleasant for the Phillies to glimpse at Aubrey Huff on third base and suddenly watch a 5-5 tie vanish in favor of the Giants in the ninth.
For the moment, it is sensible to assume that the Giants will win the series, unless a major collapse happens. You never know. Given prior history, though, the Giants will win.