October 24, 2010
All you had to do was watch the final six outs of the San Francisco Giants pennant-clinching victory over the Philadelphia Phillies to understand why broadcaster Duane Kuiper characterized their season with one word:
That's an excellent way to describe it and that's OK for Giants fans, because that's exactly how general manager Brian Sabean designed it to be.
Sabean's recipe for torture was simple. Put together a world-class pitching staff from top to bottom with the belief they would keep the team in every game, and hope that his offense would scratch, claw, and find a way, any way, to score one more run than the other guys.
The result? An agonizing, excruciating, unpredictable, and oh so satisfying 162-game thrill ride that saw San Francisco play 52 one-run games in the regular season. The Giants won a very respectable 28 of those, which was good enough to win them the NL West title.
With their season now extended, the Giants haven taken scratching, clawing, and torturing to a whole new level. They've won six one-run games this postseason, a total that ties them with the 1972 Oakland Athletics for the most in one playoff run.
The Giants own the record themselves with just one more bare-minimum win in the Fall Classic and if they want to make their fans squeal, they'll take aim at the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays. That team won all four World Series games over the Atlanta Braves by just one run.
That, of course, would be evil, but Giants fans would no doubt take it if it meant the first World Series title in San Francisco history.
NLDS Game 4: Giants 3, Braves 2
How they won: Cody Ross continues his ascension to postseason superhero with a Solo homer off Derek Lowe(notes) to tie it in the 6th and a game-winning RBI single just an inning later.
NLCS Game 6: Giants 3, Phillies 2
How they won: So many ways. Gutty relief efforts from Jeremy Affeldt(notes) and Madison Bumgarner(notes). Juan Uribe's solo home run in the 8th inning. Tim Lincecum(notes) makes a relief appearance. And Brian Wilson(notes) wiggles out of trouble (twice) to earn a five-out save.
Game 6 really was the Giants season in a nutshell. Guts, frustration, white knuckle pitching from the second inning on, missed opportunities, team effort, and one hit at just the right time to give them one more run.
Torture. Sweet torture.
It continues on Wednesday at AT&T Park.