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Madison Bumgarner stepped on the mound Thursday night at AT&T Park and to be quite honest I don't think Bay Area and Central Valley fans knew what to expect. He returned to action in the World Series after being bumped from the NLCS rotation after two horrendous starts. Fans and teammates were greeted with the Mad Bum we have all grown to love. Bumgarner looked extremely sharp throughout his 7 innings of work allowing just 2 hits, no runs, and striking out 8 Detroit batters. The 8 strikeouts were a new postseason high. Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo pitched perfect 8th and 9th innings as the Giants completely shutdown Detroit's arsenal of bats and took game two 2-0. The Giants who had to come from behind in both the NLDS and NLCS, have put themselves in a great position as they hit the road for Detroit with a 2-0 series lead.

"It definitely feels a whole lot better than having our backs against the wall," Bumgarner said. "But you can't relax. We've got to keep pushing."

After what was an explosion of sorts by the Giants and  a Panda Bear in particular during game one, game two would be much more mundane as the Gmen would use small ball to get the job done and earn the victory. Gregor Blanco's infield single stayed fair by just inches setting up Brandon Crawford's run-scoring double-play ground ball in the seventh. Hunter Pence added a sacrifice fly in the eighth scoring Angel Pagan from third.

"That's the way baseball is. When things are going well, things are bouncing your way," Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro said. "If things aren't going well, you just keep battling and playing hard. No one is taking anything for granted."

Detroit batters looked out-of-sorts and rusty at the plate Thursday night. Coming off a 5 game layoff after sweeping the Yankees in the ALCS may have something to do with it, as Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young (the heart of the Tigers lineup) had just 1 hit between them. The Tigers will look to bounce back on Saturday as game three transitions to Detroit, Michigan and Comerica Park. Giants will send Ryan Vogelsong out to match wits with Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez. The AL designator hitter will be in effect, so it will be interesting to see what skipper Bruce Bochy has in store as he will once again dip into his bag of magic tricks and most likely astound fans once again.

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The city was alive with the sound of  Pablo Sandoval's sweet music Wednesday night. He became only the fourth man in Major League baseball history to hit three homeruns in a World Series game. Sandoval joins Babe Ruth (1926 & 1928), Reggie Jackson (1977), and Albert Pujols (2011) to accomplish the amazing feet. Not bad company for the big Panda. Two of Sandoval's homeruns would come off of last years Cy Young Award winner and AL MVP Justin Verlander, who would leave the game after just four innings of work in which he gave up five earned runs.

"Man, I still can't believe it," Sandoval would say of his incredible night. "When you're a little kid , you dream of being in the World Series, but I was thinking of being in this situation, three homers in one game."

"We played our last game only two days ago," Sandoval also said. "We're still hot. We just came here and played our game."

Barry Zito who was left off of the 2010 Worlds Series squad would once again look extremely strong as he gave the Giants 5.2 innings while surrendering just one run. Zito clearly out-pitched Verlander and continued to have a momentous career revitalizing 2012 postseason. Tim Lincecum would also pitch a perfect 2.1 innings allowing no hits and striking out five.

The top and middle of the Giants order was red hot, with Angel Pagan, Buster Posey, and NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro each contributing two hits each. The Giants showed no signs of a let down or fatigue after coming off a seven game NLCS series with the Cardinals. The AT&T crowd of 42,855 decked out in black and orange was treated to what was an almost perfect game by the entire Giants squad. This was truly a game to remember  for players and fans alike in the Bay Area and Central Valley.

Game two will be played Thursday at 5:00 PM and will see pitcher Madison Bumgarner return to the mound for the Giants to face Tigers pitcher Doug Fister. Giants fans will once again proudly don the team colors and can only hope to be rewarded like they were in game one.

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Ryan Vogelsong had never struck out more then 7 batters in his entire major league career, that is until Sunday night in front of a raucous AT&T crowd in what was the most important game of his life, he whiffed 9 Cardinal batters and controlled game 6 like a Hall of Famer who had done it time and time again. Vogelsong hit almost every pitch Catcher Buster Posey called for and kept Cardinals batters scratching their head's one after another as they walked back to the dug-out. Vogelsong would finish the game tossing 7.0 innings, giving up just 4 hits and 1 run to go along with his 9 k's. Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla would pitch the 8th and Sergio Romo who has been brilliant as the Giants closer would slam the door in the 9th giving the Giants a 6-1 victory and a date with the Cards for Monday night.

Once again Marco Scutaro would reprise his roll as Giants post season MVP as he would contribute 2 hits, 2 RBI's and 2 runs. Scutaro is now hitting . 318 with 14 hits, 5 RBI's and 7 runs in the postseason while continuing to be electric with his defensive glove work in the field. Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt would also contribute 2 hits each as the Giants would knock starting pitcher Chris Carpenter from the game after just 4 innings of work in which he gave up 5 runs (3 unearned). "The bottom line is," Carpenter would say, "I'm not giving my team a chance to win."

The Giants will look to Ace Matt Cain once again in front of what is sure to be one of the loudest AT&T crowds of all time for game 7. The Cardinals will counter with Kyle Lohse, in what will be a rematch of the rain delayed game 3 which the Giants would lose 3-1 in St. Louis. That game seems like it was played 100 years ago as the momentum has clearly switched from a Cards team that could smell its' second World Series trip in as many years to a fun loving, exuberent Giants squad who will look to repeat their own World Series showing and victory of 2010. Lights, Camera, Action! Who's ready for a little game 7 magic?

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A devastatingly cold night in Detroit, Michigan couldn't cool off the San Francisco Giants in game 4 of the World Series. This 2012 edition would win their second title in three years at the hands of the Detroit Tigers in a 4 game sweep. It would take 10 innings but the comeback kids dipped deep into their bag of tricks and pulled out a World Series Championship. Game 4 gave baseball fans a great back-and-forth battle, ultimately seeing the Giants pull it out on a Marco Scutaro blooped single which scored Ryan Theriot from second base in the top of the tenth. The always classy Sergio Romo shut the door on the Tigers in the bottom of the inning which included a strikeout of Miguel Cabrera to end the game and send Detroit packing for the offseason.

In San Francisco over 10,000 diehard fans celebrated at the downtown Civic Center while millions of other Giants faithful would celebrate around the world.

The Giants finished the 2012 postseason with seven straight victories and combined timely hitting, stellar defense, and dominating pitching to get the job done.

As Giants players rushed the field after the third called strike to Cabrera, the happiness and joy overwhelmed the team and coaching staff as many of the players cried tears of joy. In the locker room champagne overflowed as Team President Larry Baer, General Manager Brian Sabean, and Skipper Bruce Bochy accepted the World Series Trophy from Commissioner Bud Selig. The Kung Fu Panda Pablo Sandoval would proudly accept the World Series MVP trophy due in large part to his amazing Game 1 performance in which he hit 3 home runs. In the 4 game series Sandoval went 8-16 with 3 home runs and 4 RBI's. "It's just an incredible moment you're never going to forget," he said.

If i was asked to use one word to describe this Giants team and their unforgettable postseason run, I would say "DETERMINATION". This team just would not quit, nor would they ever let themselves believe they would not win it all. It may sound cliche to call these guys a "Team of Destiny" but they are truly that and then some. I am so proud to be a Giants fan, a baseball fan, and a Bay Area native tonight. This team deserves this Championship and Bay Area and Central Valley fans deserve this team.

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Monday, 22 October 2012 02:53

A's Acquire Outfielder Young from D-backs

The Oakland A's and general manager Billy Beane would not waste any time starting their off-season merry-go-round of moves as they acquired outfielder Chris Young for second baseman/shortstop Cliff Pennington and minor leaguer Yordy Cabrera. The D-backs would then send Cabrera to the Miami Marlins for relief pitcher Heath Bell.

Chris Young played six years in Arizona posting three 20-homer, 20-steal seasons. He injured his right shoulder during a violent crash into a wall while making a catch earlier in the season. An injured Quadricep in early September sent Young to the bench in favor of Arizona's youngster Adam Eaton. The move and benching made Young expendable once the offseason hit. "It caught me off guard a little bit, I'm not going to lie" Young would say. "I got an opportunity to talk to Billy (Beane), and got to talk to BoMel (Bob Melvin). I'm excited to help. It's a new opportunity, a fresh start for me personally."

The A's acquired shortstop Stephen Drew from the Diamondbacks during the season and will most likely look to move Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, or possibly even flip Young in what is now a crowded outfield. Five-tool outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will return and resume his role in left field.

The 28 year old infielder Pennington hit just .215 last season, including .168 against left-handers, he had just 28 RBI's. Yordy Cabrera was a 2nd round draft pick in 2010 and played Single-A ball in Stockton.

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By Justin J. Crowder

Although Marco Scutaro would take a nasty blow from Cardinals Right Fielder Matt Holliday as he slid into second base during the 1st inning of game 2 of the NLCS, Scutaro would remain in the game and energize not only the Giants players but also the 42,679 fans on hand to watch the Giants route the Cards 7-1. Giants Right Fielder Hunter Pence would say "it just kinda pumps you up...when you see on of your guys go down, you always want to win the game, but it's like 'let's go! Let's put it on the scoreboard'". Scutaro would leave in the 5th inning to have X-Rays on his hip, which came back negative. Good thing for the Giants as Scutaro's tremendous postseason play has captured the hearts of Bay Area fans much like former Giants outfielder Cody Ross did during the 2010 World Series run.

Ryan Vogelsong (the 2011 Willie Mac Award winner) would pitch beautifully giving the Giants a much needed 7 strong innings scattering 4 hits to go along with 4 K's and allowing just 1 run. Giants closer Sergio Romo who is also the owner of the coolest beard this side of Brian Wilson would get some much needed work in the ninth during a non-save situation. Vogelsong would be the first Giants starter to get past the sixth inning during this years postseason play, and it couldn't have came at a better time.

Giants outfielder Angel Pagan would hit his second home run of the postseason in the bottom of the first. The stat line was stellar for the Giants lead-off man as he compiled 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 RBI's, and a walk. The Giants look to become the 1st team in 25 years to have the fewest home runs of any team in the majors and make it to the World Series. What the Giants lack in pop they make up for with outstanding pitching, good solid defense, and a very smart veteran team and coaching staff. Filling in for Scutaro, 2nd baseman Ryan Theriot would also add a hit and 2 RBI's with National League MVP hopeful Buster Posey and a slimmed down always fun to watch 3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval both contributing with a hit each.

The series will take a travel day tomorrow as the two teams get ready to battle it out in St. Louis at the beautiful Busch Stadium on Wednesday Oct. 17th at 1pm. The Giants will send ace Matt Cain who went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 193 strikeouts to the mound. The Cards will counter with right hander Kyle Lohse who went an impressive 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA and 143 strikeouts. Cain and Lohse both in this years hunt for the National League Cy Young Award will look to capture the all important and pivotal game 3 match-up in the NLCS.

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Monday, 15 October 2012 14:13

Bay Area "Bummed" After Game 1 Loss

By Justin J. Crowder

The San Francisco Giants would once again raise the blood pressure of Bay Area and Central Valley fans as they would lose game 1 of the National League Championship Series 6-4 to the St. Louis Cardinals.For the first time since 1958 the two previous World Series Champions (Giants 10', Cards 11') would face each other in the playoffs. Starting Pitcher and 18 game winner Lance Lynn was poised to to take the mound against 23 year old 16 game winner and south paw Madison Bumgarner. The smell of celebratory Champagne lasted but a short time as the Giants washed away the euphoria of a 3-2 series victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the National League Divisional Series and began focusing and delivering the team mantra "Never underestimate the heart of a Giant" on the St. Louis Cardinals who defeated the Washington Nationals 3-2 in their own 5 game series. The Cards would strike first as 3rd baseman David Freese launched a two run homer in the top of the second inning. Freese who was last years World Series MVP admitted that after going up 6-0 against the Giants that "i'm thinking of the D.C. game" Freese would also say "They were up 6-0. We were up 6-0.And that shows that you've got to keep playing...We were fortunate enough that our bullpen came in and closed the door the rest of the way." Two nights earlier the Cards had comer back from a 6-0 deficit against the Nationals. The cards would bombard Bumgarner again in the fourth as 2nd baseman Daniel Descalso would hit a one-out double and short stop Pete Kozma would continue his outstanding post season play driving inDescalso with a double of his own to left field. After swiping third base the bleeding would continue ascenter fielder Jon Jay singled in Kozma from third. Once former Giant Carlos Beltran grabbed ahold of aBumgarner pitch and crushed a 2 run shot to left field, Giants skipper Bruce Bochy had scene enough and quickly pulled the Giants 3rd year pitcher from the game. The bottom of the fourth provided the Giants and their fans some hometown cookin' of their own. After singles by the hot hitting 2nd baseman Marco Scutaro (who ended the regular season with a 20 game hit streak) and right fielder Hunter Pence (a huge mid-season acquisition by the Giants) 1st baseman Brandon Belt would deliver a single of his own driving in Scutaro and giving the Giants their first run of the NLCS. Left fielder Gregor Blanco would then triple to deep right scoring Pence and Belt. After short stopBrandon Crawford drove a deep ball to right field that scored Blanco and pushed the score to 6-4 the AT&T crowd truly came alive and the chant of "BELIEVE" echoed throughout the stadium. Lance Lynn wouldleave giving up 4 runs on 5 hits in just 3.2 innings. Entering the 5th both teams would need to rely on their bullpen and middle relief much earlier thenanticipated. The Giants would see a strong performance by a combination of G. Kantos, T. Lincecum,J. Affeldt, S. Casilla, and J. Mijares who combined to throw 5.1 magnificent innings allowing no hits, no runs, 5 strikeouts, and just 1 walk. Not to be outdone the Cardinals bullpen was incredibly stout as J. Kelly, M. Rzepczynski, T. Rosenthal, E. Mujica (who would get the win) and closer J. Motte would dominate Giants hitters over 5.1 innings allowing no runs and striking out 4. The aforementioned Motte who was tied for the National League lead with 42 saves could be a huge plus for the Cardinals as a dominate factor at the end of games. The Giants will rely on a closer bycommittee approach with Sergio Romo leading the way and trying to fill the shoes of the enigmaticGiants pitcher Brian Wilson. After going just 3 for 15 the Giants 2 through 5 hitters will truly need tostep up in game two and deliver if the Giants stand a chance against this talented St. Louis team. The Giants will try and even up the series on Monday Oct. 15th at AT&T Park as 14 game winner Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound against 2005 Cy Young award winner Chris Carpenter who spent much of the 2012 regular season on the disabled list. Game 2 will start at 5:00 PM and be televised on Fox.

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Barry Zito could have quite possibly turned his entire Giants career around in one game as he delivered an absolute gem of a performance on Friday night versus the Cardinals. "This is it for me," the much maligned pitcher would say. "Coming here, especially doing it in a Giants uniform. A lot of people were saying stuff about A's days. And for me, the most important thing is doing everything for San Francisco right now." Zito would go 7.2 innings scattering six hits with 6 strikeouts. He kept the Cardinals batters guessing all night, mixing and matching pitches beautifully.

The game five win sets up a game 6 matchup Sunday night at which is sure to be an electric AT&T Park.

Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn would once again last just into the 4th inning as a bad toss to second base by the pitcher would lead to a Giants four-run 4th. "I don't mind him being aggressive if he's got the play," (shortstop Pete) Kozma was in the right place; he (Lynn) just made a low throw." Cards skipper Mike Matheny would say.

The Giants who are now 4-2 on the road this postseason have won each of Zito's past 13 starts, not bad for a guy who at the start of the year was the Giants 5th starter and even that spot was in question.

The Giants flashed multiple nice plays with their gloves in the field proving that defense and timely hitting is truly their best shot at winning versus this Cardinals team. Right fielder Hunter Pence made a circus like juggling catch, 2nd baseman Marco Scutaro would make a sliding stop to rob pinch-hitter Shane Robinson on back to back plays.

Zito would also contribute with a bunt single in the 4th that would score left fielder Gregor Blanco. Shortstop Brandon Crawford would pitch in with a 2 run single and Pablo Sandoval would add a 377 foot homer to right field giving him a homerun in each of the last two games.

Game 6 will match Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong against Cards' Chris Carpenter in a rematch of game 2. Vogelsong dominated that game hurling 7.0 strong innings as the Giants routed the Cardinals 7-1.

Bay Area and Central Valley fans will once again experience the "torture" which they have come to both love and hate over the past few years. The Giants will play their 5th elimination game of the postseason but with their backs against the wall, we seem to get the best of what this team has to offer.

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When Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran strained his left knee running out a double play ball in the first inning of game 3 of the NLCS, Giants fans were relieved  to see one of the Cards best hitters be hobbled and have to leave the game. Unfortunately little known Cardinals utility man Matt Carpenter would quickly make Bay Area fans miss the site of Beltran's face as he would hit a 2 run 421 foot blast off Matt Cain in the bottom of the third inning. "It was definitely  a surprise," said Carpenter. "I didn't even realize Carlos had hurt himself; there was really no thought process. I was in the game before I had time to think about it."

The Giants who came in 70-22 when scoring first, including the postseason, took the lead in the third on Pablo Sandoval's run-scoring groundout after leadoff hits by Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro who showed no signs of injury after leaving game two in the 5th inning because of a hard slide into second by Matt Holiday.

Giants ace Matt Cain lost for the second time this postseason allowing three runs on five hits in 6.1 innings of work. The biggest eye soar on the day was not just the three and a half hour rain delay in the 7th that turned players and fans alike into soggy prunes but also the fact the Giants were 0-7 with runners in scoring position.

Cardinals closer Jason Motte would record the first 2 inning save of his career on what was from most accounts a very lackluster night for Giants batters.

The Giants snapped their five-game road winning streak in the postseason but will look to bounce back tonight as Tim Lincecum will revive his roll as starter against Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright. "He's a guy we want out there. He's been throwing the ball well," Bochy would say of Lincecum. "We've got to bounce back."

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There's something about this 2012 edition of the San Francisco Giants that just seems magical and puts a permanent smile on my face. They just seem like a bunch of cool dude's, the type of guys you invite over for a Sunday BBQ. Maybe it's the fact that they survived and thrived during 6 elimination games during this postseason, or maybe it's the timely hitting and outstanding pitching, maybe it's the fact that a late season acquisition named Marco Scutaro would lead this team on it's journey and end up being the NLCS Most Valuable Player, or maybe it's seeing Brian Wilson in the Dug-Out cheering on his teammates as his majestic burly beard swayed in the cool Bay Area breeze. Well it's all of this and then some that makes this team so special. They have the IT factor, and I can't wait to see what they do next!

Game 7 was over early as the Giants who already leading 2-0 would put up a 5 spot in the bottom of the third with a Hunter Pence double to center field that would score Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey would score on an error from center fielder Jon Jay. Brandon Crawford then grounded into a fielder's choice to short stop scoring Pence and moving Brandon Belt to third and Gregor Blanco to second. Angel Pagan would knock in Belt and the score sat at 7-0 heading to the 4th and remain that way as Matt Cain, J. Affeldt, S. Casilla, J. Lopez, and S. Romo would keep the Cardinals shut down all night not allowing a run. The Giants would tack on 2 more runs in the 7th and 8th innings as the final score would read 9-0 in what was nothing less then a total route of the defending World Series Champs.

Marco Scutaro tied an LCS record as he posted 14 hits in the series with 6 multi-hit games on way to winning MVP honors. As the game ended the rain began to pour  as fans and players alike would celebrate soaked and ecstatic. "The rain never felt so good," Scutaro said. "We're going to the World Series, this is unbelievable." Closer Sergio Romo would embrace Buster Posey as fireworks blasted through the night sky illuminating McCovey Cove as players rejoiced on the field. "It's just very fitting the way everything has gone for us this season," Romo said ending in the rain. "The ups and downs, the injuries, the personal issues, whatever. What a ride for us all. It's very, very fitting that it rained right there."

Game 1 of the World Series will be on on Wednesday and be played at AT&T Park. Last year's Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander will start for the Detroit Tigers. Verlander didn't match his numbers from 2011 this year but is still considered by most the best and most dangerous pitcher in Major League Baseball. If that wasn't enough the Giants will also have to contend with 2012 triple crown winner Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera became the first triple crown winner since Carl Yastrzemski to win it in 1967. He joined such notable players as Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and Ty Cobb to win the award. The Detroit Tigers finished the regular season 88-74 winning the AL Central. They beat the Oakland A's 3-2 in the ALDS and then dismantled the New York Yankees 4-0 in the ALCS. Giants skipper Bruce Bochy has yet to name a starter but it will most likely be either Madison Bumgarner or veteran Barry Zito starting game 1.

It was a night of euphoria and bliss for players and fans alike in the bay Area and Central Valley, but now the Giants will need to turn their cheek to the exuberance of the NLCS and focus completely on the Detroit Tigers and game 1 of the World Series. Let the "torture" begin, I know I'm ready, are you?

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