The San Francisco Giants seized a 3-1 lead in Major League Baseball's best-of-seven final against hosts, the Texas Rangers. With one more victory, they could claim their first World Series title since 1954.
AFP - Rookie Madison Bumgarner bewildered baseball's top batting lineup while Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey hit home runs to lead San Francisco past Texas 4-0 and to the brink of a World Series crown.
Bumgarner, a 21-year-old US southpaw and the youngest World Series starting pitcher since 1981, hurled eight scoreless innings Sunday while Huff, from nearby Fort Worth, hit a two-run blast in the third to help humble his hometown club.
The Giants seized a 3-1 lead in Major League Baseball's best-of-seven final and could claim their first title since 1954, four years before the team moved to California from New York, by beating the host Rangers in Monday's game five.
Bumgarner bewitched the Texas hitters who led the major leagues, striking out six while surrendering only three hits and facing just three batters over the minimum on a Halloween night where former US President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Texas managed only two hits off Bumgarner in the first six innings and never put a runner on second base in the span, the young ace aided by two double plays and a throw out by Posey on a stolen base attempt.
San Francisco stretched the lead in the seventh when Edgar Renteria singled and scored on a Andres Torres double to the centerfield wall and moved ahead 4-0 in the eighth when Posey smashed a homer over the centerfield wall.
Giants ace closing relief pitcher Brian Wilson entered in the ninth inning and retired the Rangers last three batters to complete the victory.
Bumgarner and Posey were the first rookie pitcher-catcher combination to start a World Series game since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra for the New York Yankees in the 1947 opener against Brooklyn.
Bumgarner, whose first major league victory came last July, was the first mound newcomer to start a World Series game since Japan's Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched a victory for Boston over Colorado in game three of the 2007 Series.
Overall, Bumgarner was the fifth-youngest pitcher to start a World Series game, the youngest since Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers some 29 years earlier.
Across the parking lot from where American football's 50-year-old Dallas Cowboys slid to 1-6 with a loss to Jacksonville hours earlier, the Rangers saw hopes fade for the first Series crown in their own half-century history.
World Series fourth games are typically extended battles of attrition, each batter wearing down the rival team's weakest starting pitcher. The Giants did that to Texas starter Tommy Hunter, who made 83 pitches in his four innings.
Texas centerfielder Josh Hamilton made a diving grab in the second inning to deny San Francisco a run, but the Giants broke through on their next chance against right-hander Hunter, who was 7-0 at home during the regular season.
Huff, who wears a red thong under his uniform as a lucky charm, followed a Torres double by smacking a two-run homer just inside the right-field foul pole to give the Giants a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
Huff, usually the Giants' first baseman, was used as a designated hitter in a lineup shuffle aimed at bolstering San Francisco's batting. It worked for Huff, who had gone 76 times at bat since September 25 without a homer.
The Giants replaced outfielder Pat Burrell, 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts in the Series, and designated hitter Pablo Sandoval with Nate Schierholtz in the outfield and Travis Ishikawa, who had not started at first since August 14.
Date created : 2010-11-01