10/29/12 3:07 AM ET
Tigers tip their caps to World Series champions
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
"Obviously there was no doubt about it, they swept us," said manager Jim Leyland after the Tigers' 4-3 loss in Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night. "So there was certainly no bad breaks, no fluke. I tip my hat to them. Simple, they did better than we did."
The Giants predicated their remarkable run to a championship on their pitching. In their 11 postseason victories, they yielded just 16 runs to the opposition. San Francisco's pitchers peaked in the World Series, when they blanked the Tigers in Games 2 and 3, matching in two contests the number of times Detroit had been shut out during the entire regular season.
"Their pitchers were outstanding," said southpaw Drew Smyly. "They got the hit when they needed to get the hit, and that's the story of every game we played in this series. Their pitchers shut us down and they were able to squeak out enough clutch hits to give them the victories."
The Giants made nothing easy on themselves. In the NLDS, they appeared headed for a swift exit from the postseason. Cincinnati claimed the first two tilts at AT&T Park and retreated back to the Queen City, where the Reds hadn't lost three consecutive contests all season. San Francisco quickly dismissed that statistic, advancing to the NL Championship Series after a trio of gutty victories.
Against St. Louis, the Giants put together another string of three straight wins after falling into a hole. They erased a 3-1 deficit to secure a meeting with the Tigers in the Fall Classic. After disposing of the Cardinals with 6-1 and 9-0 triumphs in San Francisco, the Giants clearly had momentum on their side.
"I tip my cap to them," said lefty Phil Coke. "It's a bittersweet thing, because I know they battled their butts off to get to where they are."
In the end, after four menacingly narrow defeats, the Tigers had no choice but to lay praise upon their opponents.
"They played excellent," said first baseman Prince Fielder, who tallied just one hit in 14 World Series at-bats. "They just played well. We played solid baseball; they just played better."
San Francisco's fortune was no more evident than in the 10th inning on Sunday. It scratched across the winning run with a pair of bloop singles against Coke, who had struck out the first seven batters he encountered in the Fall Classic.
"Two bloop base hits," said reliever Octavio Dotel. "Everything was right for them, from San Francisco all the way to this point."