ARLINGTON -- Rangers third baseman Michael Young preferred to put his batting helmet back on and keep swinging until he hit the special pitching of the Giants in the World Series.
But the five-game loss to San Francisco, and Texas' .190 batting average and 31 strikeouts in 44 innings that went with it, dictated that the only appropriate action for Young was to tip his helmet to a pitching effort that culminated with Tim Lincecum's standout eight innings in Monday night's clinching 3-1 victory.
"Obviously, we have a great offense; we feel we should score, no matter what," Young said. "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 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."
The Rangers led the Major Leagues with a .276 batting average during the regular season. In American League playoff victories over the Rays and the Yankees, they upped that figure to .281. Their 968 strikeouts were the fourth-lowest total in the AL.
Nonetheless, Giants pitching, especially the starters, dominated. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner pitched a combined 15 2/3 scoreless innings. San Francisco managed shutouts in Games 2 and 4, and Lincecum struck out 11 in 13 2/3 World Series innings in two starts, 10 of which came while holding the Rangers to one run in eight innings Monday.
"Their pitchers threw well, give them credit -- I don't like to," said potential AL Most Valuable Player Award winner Josh Hamilton. "We didn't swing the bats well. But they beat us, fair and square."
In the end, manager Ron Washington was being questioned about a 1-for-14 performance from cleanup man Vladimir Guerrero, who hit .300 with 29 homers during the regular season. However, leadoff man Elvis Andrus (.176), Hamilton (.100) and sparkplug Ian Kinsler (.188) -- all key parts of the club's offense -- didn't break the low-water line of .200. The struggles of those players made Nelson Cruz's .200 and Young's .250 not seem so bad.
Lincecum actually struggled in the 11-7 victory in Game 1. On Monday, about all the Rangers could say was they didn't struggle with runners in scoring position as they did throughout the World Series. Lincecum never threw one pitch with a runner as far as second base.
"The last game, maybe my nerves got the best of me," Lincecum said. "There was a little adrenaline rush and I didn't keep myself collected. Today, knowing those things were going to happen, I took more deep breaths. I took time when I needed to."
The Giants scored as many runs (29) as the Rangers managed in the hit column.
Washington didn't mind a little cap-tipping.
"They just made some pitches, because they're a very good pitching team," Washington said. "You know, [Guerrero] drove our offense. Hamilton drove our offense. Cruz drove our offense. You go up and down our lineup, they drove our offense. Good pitching stops hitting, and in this series, their pitching certainly stood up, and that was the difference right there."
The combined shutout by Bumgarner and closer Brian Wilson in Game 4 meant the Giants matched the total of all other teams during the regular season at Rangers Ballpark. If not for Cruz's seventh-inning homer off Lincecum on Monday, the Rangers would have been hung with another zero at home and would have had three in five games.
Texas lost six straight in April and five straight in early September, but there were extenuating circumstances at those times. This time, the Rangers had their best, and it simply wasn't good enough.
"We didn't get much opportunity to score, and we didn't get much opportunity to create something," Andrus said. "We had times during the season when guys got hurt. But this was the World Series. We had five games, we lost and everything is done. But as a team, we learned."
They learned that whether they acknowledge it willfully or grudgingly, special pitching is difficult to beat.