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On This Date in Sports November 1, 2010: Joyous Torture

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The torture ends for fans by the bay, as the San Francisco Giants win the World Series for the first time in 56 years, beating the Texas Rangers in five games. The Giants win the finale 3-1, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Edgar Renteria, who had a three-run home run in the seventh, is named World Series MVP. It was the Giants' first World Championship since 1954 when they played in New York. It is the first of three World Championships in a five year stretch for the Giants. 

The fans of the San Francisco Giants lived a tortured existence. Since leaving New York for San Francisco in 1958, the Giants had played in three World Series but had not won a World Championship. This was despite having players like Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, and Barry Bonds. Three years after Bonds’ final season, the Giants were now a team built around strong pitching, managed by Bruce Bochy. Tim Lincecum was coming off two consecutive Cy Young awards. He was joined by Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and rookie Madison Bumgarner to give the Giants the best rotation in baseball. However, the lineup struggled most of the season, leading some to call watching their games torture. Looking for a spark, the Giants called up catcher Buster Posey who helped turn the season around. Posey would win Rookie of the Year as the Giants won the NL West with a record of 92-70.

Fans of the Texas Rangers could commiserate with the Giants. The Rangers, as a franchise, had never won a postseason series. They were the only team that had never played in a League Championship Series. The Rangers began 2010 in dire straits as owner Tom Hicks was bankrupt. The team was transferred over to a group headed by Nolan Ryan until a new owner could be found. Despite the financial troubles, the Rangers won the first division title in 11 years, posting a record of 90-72 for manager Ron Washington. Helping to guide the Rangers was Neftali Feliz, who won Rookie of the Year, becoming the team’s closer, while Josh Hamilton was named American League MVP. 

The Rangers stunned the Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Series, advancing to the ALCS for the first time with a 5-1 win at Tropicana Field. The Rangers would go on to reach the World Series by beating the New York Yankees in six games. The Yankees had beaten the Rangers in their three previous postseason appearances. Meanwhile, the Giants took down the Atlanta Braves in four games while shocking the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. The Phillies came into the series seeking a third straight pennant. 

The World Series began at AT&T Park, with Tim Lincecum looking to smoke the Rangers, while Cliff Lee, a mid-season acquisition made the start for Texas. Vladimir Guerrero gave the Rangers an early lead with an RBI single in the first inning. Texas got a second run on a sac-fly by Elvin Andrus. The Giants took advantage of an error to score two runs in the third as Freddy Sanchez had an RBI double and Buster Posey an RBI single. The Giants would take the lead with six runs in the fifth, as Sanchez again had an RBI. Following run-scoring hits from Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe greeted reliever Darren O’Day with a three-run home run. The Rangers answered with two runs in the sixth, but it was the Giants’ night as they padded their lead to 11-4 with three runs in the eight as Sanchez drove in a third run. Texas scored three runs late, but it was not enough as the Giants took the opener 11-7.

Matt Cain made the start for the Giants, while C.J. Wilson got the call for Texas in Game 2. Cain was more than able, allowing just four hits in seven innings. Wilson was also strong but allowed a home run to Edgar Renteria in the fifth. Juan Uribe drove in a second run in the seventh. In the eighth inning, San Francisco put the game out of reach with seven runs, as the Rangers bullpen imploded, walking four straight as Derek Holland and Mark Lowe each walked in a batter with the bases loaded, while Renteria drove in a pair with a single as the Giants won the game 9-0. 

As the series shifted to Texas, the Rangers faced desperation with Colby Lewis on the mound, while Jonathan Sanchez made the start for the Giants. Mitch Moreland got the Rangers started in the right direction with a three-run home run in the second inning. Josh Hamilton went deep in the fifth to make it 4-0. The Giants would get homer from Cody Ross and Andres but never came back from the early deficit, losing 4-2. 

Madison Bumgarner made the start for San Francisco in Game 4 as Tommy Hunter toed the rubber for Texas. It was the first World Series start for Bumgarner, who, over the next five years, became one of the most reliable pitchers in the history of the Fall Classic. Bumgarner allowed three hits in eight innings, striking out six, as the Giants won 4-0. The Giants got two runs in the third, on a home run by Aubrey Huff. Torres added a run with a double in the seventh, while Buster Posey had a home run in the eighth to account for the scoring. 

Cliff Lee took the mound in Game 5, as the Rangers, down 3-1, needed a win in Game 5 to stay alive. Tim Lincecum, meanwhile, looked to end the World Series for San Francisco. Through six innings, there was no score. Finally, in the seventh, the Giants jumped in front on a three-run homer by Edgar Renteria. Renteria would be named World Series MVP. Nelson Cruz had a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh, but it was too little too late. Lincecum allowed one run on three hits while striking out ten in eight innings. Brian Wilson took the mound in the ninth and set down Texas in order as Nelson Cruz was struck out to end the game and the series.