ARLINGTON, Texas -- Greetings for one last time from Rangers Ballpark, where it's all on the line tonight for the Giants in Game Five. They can end 52 years of frustration with a win tonight and take the World Series title home to San Francisco for the first time. It's Tim Lincecum vs. Cliff Lee -- and Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg, who is guaranteeing victory for Texas tonight and in a potential Game Six Wednesday back at AT&T Park.
(It's also the last night I have to battle with the wireless system here, which has hardly been reliable. Not to say it's been any better than San Francisco. Bad Series on the techno front). Just as the wireless came back, the power has gone down. I got a couple hours of battery so we'll see.
There was a spectacular red sunset over the ballpark and its the coolest of the three nights here by far. The breeze is blowing pretty good and it's blowing out for the first time. If Lee and Lincecum get any pitches up and they're hit into this jet stream, they're going over the fence.
Here are the lineups:
San Francisco: Torres, rf; Sanches, 2b; Posey, c; Ross, lf; Uribe, 3b; Huff, 1b; Burrell, dh; Renteria, ss; Rowand, cf
Texas: Andrus, ss; Young, 3b; Hamilton, cf; Guerrero, dh; Cruz, rf; Kinsler, 2b; Murphy, lf; Molina, c; Moreland, 1b
We're under way: Lee gave up a first-inning single to Posey while Lincecum got the Rangers out 1-2-3. The first pitch was a ball from Lee to Torres at 6:58 CT. It's 68 degrees -- well below the 79- and 77-degree readings we had here at the start the last two nights.
End-2nd: Still zip-zip. Lee has retired six of seven and Lincecum all six. Wasn't this how Game One was supposed to go?
End-3rd: Nothing doin. Lee gave up a two-out single to Torres but he got nowhere. Lincecum walked Moreland after retiring the first eight but fanned Andrus to end the inning and has three no-hit innings. Molina, by the way, was furious after taking a called first strike from plate ump Jeff Kellogg. It's 0-0 through three.
End-4th: We've played four scoreless innings in 62 minutes. Wow. How is Fox going to get in all those commercials? Lee has given up two hits and Young got the Rangers' first with a single up the middle off Lincecum but was erased on a Guerrero fielder's choice. But Cruz struck out to end the inning. The pitch counts are shocking through four. Lee was 51-36, Lincecum 53-35.
Mid-5th: Halfway home as Lee gets a double play ball from Renteria to erase Huff, who had reached when Moreland dropped a quick thrown from Kinsler. It's "Deep in the Heart of Texas" time.
End-5th: This incredible duel continues. Lee has a two-hitter with four strikeouts and no walks. Lincecum has a one-hitter with six strikeouts and one walk. The Rangers have just three balls to the outfield off Lincecum, the Giants just four off Lee. There are so many bad swings on both sides. Guys look like they don't have a prayer.
Amazing how baseball is the one sport you DON'T want a lot of rest between playoff series. Think of of teams in the NBA and NHL hope for it, how NFL teams want those two weeks off. In baseball, it's a bad-bad-bad thing. Hitters lose their timing and pitchers get out of routine. Look at Lee and Lincecum in Game One and look at them tonight on their regular day. Case closed.
Mid-6th: The closest call of the night but still no dice. With two out, Sanchez gets a single to right as Cruz missed it on a dive. Posey follows on the next pitch with a drive to right but Cruz goes back and jumps against the wall to grab it for the third out. Could have been a Series-winning home run for the rookie with another couple feet behind it.
Top-7th: Big trouble for Lee. Ross singles on a 1-2 pitch, Uribe pounds another single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch and Huff sacrifices the runners. It's second and third with one out for Burrell. Was the sixth inning a sign that Lee's armor was denting?
End-7th: Now that my connection is back, I can say I was right. Lee fanned Burrell but Edgar Renteria broke this thing up with a three-run jack to deep left-center on a 2-0 pitch to stun the crowd. I'm talking stone-cold silent except for the few Giants fans in the top rows behind the plate. That made it 3-0. The Rangers got one back in the bottom of the inning on a Cruz bomb to left. Lee is out and Neftali Feliz is in to start the eighth. Giants, 3-1, and six outs away from a title
End-8th, 3 outs to go: A 1-2-3 inning for Lincecum preserves the 3-1 lead. He's thrown 101 pitches and has 10 strikeouts. Brian Wilson is up in the pen. We'll see what the Giants do.
It's over: Paraphrasing Russ Hodges, "THE GIANTS WIN THE SERIES, THE GIANTS WIN THE SERIES". A 3-1 victory as Wilson gets Cruz swinging for the final out.