Rangers’ Best Pitcher, Big Bats Fizzle Vs. Giants
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Everything that carried the Texas Rangers into the World Series fizzled against the San Francisco Giants.
The best pitcher. The big batters. Nothing seemed to work when it mattered most.
Ace left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee lost again and the Rangers’ batters were muted in a 3-1 loss in Game 5 on Monday that gave the title to the Giants.
“The guys are a little down,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “They beat us soundly. They played better baseball than we did.”
Lee, the prized midseason acquisition Texas got to win games like this, was definitely better than in the Series opener, when he had his worst postseason outing ever. Still, it wasn’t good enough to beat Tim Lincecum.
But no matter how well the free agent-to-be might have pitched in maybe his last start for Texas, Lee got no help from a potent lineup that went from slugging to slumping in the Rangers’ first World Series.
“You’ve got to tip your cap to Lincecum. He pitched an unbelievable game. They outpitched us the whole series,” Lee said. “Against this lineup, that’s highly impressive what they did with the ball. A lot of credit goes to their pitching and defense. It was outstanding, and they flat-out beat us.”
Texas had gone 18 innings — the equivalent of two full games — without scoring until Nelson Cruz homered in the seventh against Lincecum. That was after Lee, who struck out six and walked none in seven innings, had thrown his last pitch.
Edgar Renteria, the Giants’ No. 8 hitter and World Series most valuable player, hit a three-run homer in the seventh.
The Rangers were shut out twice by San Francisco. The last team held scoreless twice in a World Series was the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers, who failed to score in the last three games while being swept by Baltimore.
Texas, which led the majors with a .276 batting average in the regular season, hit a meager .190 with only 12 runs in the World Series.
“Obviously, we have a great offense, so we feel like we should score no matter what,” said Michael Young, the team’s career hits leader and longest-tenured player in his 10th season. “They threw really well, they deserve credit for that, they won the World Series — but as a competitor you always want to put it on yourself. You always want to say it doesn’t matter who’s out there, you’ve got to find a way to score runs. We just didn’t get it done.”
Josh Hamilton, who led the majors with a .359 average in the regular season, went 2 for 20 in the World Series. The big bats of Young, Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz were a combined 12 for 74 (.162).
“Sometimes you feel good and you just don’t get hits,” Hamilton said. “You hate for it to happen in the World Series, but it did.”
Bengie Molina spent 3 1/2 seasons in San Francisco, helping to mentor Lincecum and the other Giants pitchers before being traded July 1 to the Rangers. As good as the Giants’ pitchers are, even he was caught off guard by how much they dominated the Texas hitters.
“Very surprised, very amazed,” said Molina, who can still take home a championship ring. “It’s very simple. They hit, they pitched, they won.”
The Rangers had 29 hits in the series. San Francisco scored 29 runs.
“I didn’t know they can pitch that well,” Washington said. “It was as good as advertised.”
Lee was 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in eight career postseason starts going into this World Series. He had won Games 1 and 5 last year for Philadelphia against the New York Yankees, who won the other four games for their 27th championship.
This time, he lost Games 1 and 5 of the first World Series in the 50-season history of the Rangers franchise.
The 2008 American League Cy Young pitching award winner will be one of the most sought-after free agents this winter, and the Rangers obviously want to keep him. They beat the Yankees in the playoffs, but it could be costly to top them again in free agency.
“I like this team. This is a very fun team to play on. It was a very talented group of guys. I expect this team to do some really good things next year,” Lee said. “I don’t know if I’m going to be a part of it or not. I would love to be. But there are so many things that can happen.”
Before his disappointing World Series, Lee pitched a complete game in the AL division series clincher against Tampa Bay after winning the opener of that series for Texas. In his only start against the Yankees in the AL championship series, he struck out 13 and allowed only two hits over eight innings.
The Rangers’ best hitter in the Series was Mitch Moreland, the rookie first baseman who batted ninth and didn’t even join the team until July 27. He went 6 for 13 (.462) and his three-run homer was the big hit for Texas in its only victory, 4-2 in Game 3.
Before Lincecum struck out 10 while allowing three hits in eight innings Monday night, the Rangers managed only three singles in eight innings the night before against rookie left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
“There were three games that they just dominated. The pitcher came out and did their job and kept us off balance pretty much the whole game,” Moreland said. “We just couldn’t get anything going. That’s kind of the story for us.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.