Tag Archives: Cardinals

GIANTS WIN IT ALL


The San Francisco Giants swept away the Detroit Tigers Sunday, winning their second World Series title in three seasons following a 4-3 extra-inning win at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Tigers were heavily favored to win the Series; 23 of 28 ESPN commentators predicted the trophy was destined for Detroit. The Giants could not have cared less.

All season long this Giants team won when critics said they could not. Although they fell behind two games to none in the first round of the playoffs against the Cincinnati Reds, the Giants stormed back, winning three straight on the road. In Game 3, they won in extra-innings despite collecting only one hit through the first nine innings. Buster Posey smashed a grand slam in Game 5 that made it 6-0 Giants. They went on to win 6-4 and advanced to the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Once more, the Giants were picked to lose. And once more, they fell in an early hole. Trailing three games to one in the series, the Giants fought back. Barry Zito resurged in 2012 following years of harsh criticism for his huge contract and poor performance as a Giant.

He was left off the playoff roster in 2010. His impressive 2012 season was made all the more sweet when he pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings against a potent Cardinals lineup in St. Louis in Game 5 to keep the Giants’ season alive. Ryan Vogelsong allowed just one run in seven innings at AT&T Park in Game 6, and the Giants once again came all the way back to force a deciding game.

Game 7 was predicted to be a pitchers’ duel between staff aces Matt Cain and Kyle Lohse. Once more, San Francisco exceeded expectations and the game was out of hand by the fourth inning. The Giants jumped all over Lohse, knocking him around for five runs on six hits in 2+ innings. The Giants held a 9-0 lead and were three outs away from showering one another with champagne when the skies opened up. In the ninth inning, it poured.

Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro raised his palms to the sky and looked up into the rain with a smile; he would be named the MVP of the series. In the pouring rain in front of a raucous sellout crowd, Sergio Romo got Matt Holliday to pop out to Scutaro, and the soaking Giants had a date with destiny.

In the American League, the Tigers were coming off a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees, and many thought they would obliterate the Giants in the 108th World Series. Crafty left-handed veteran Barry Zito opposed reigning MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in Game 1. Entering the start, Verlander had a 3-0 record and a miniscule 0.82 ERA in the 2012 playoffs. The Giants were unimpressed.

Pablo Sandoval started the scoring frenzy in the first inning with a solo home run to center field on a 95-mph letter-high fastball. In the third, Sandoval did it again. He blasted the outside-corner pitch over the left field wall for a two-run shot that made the score 4-0 Giants. Verlander allowed five earned runs and was pulled out of the game after just four innings.

Sandoval was not done. The affectionately nicknamed Kung Fu Panda cracked his third home run of the game to dead center field off Al Albuquerque in the fifth inning. Sandoval became just the fourth player in history to hit three home runs in one World Series game. He joined legends Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols as the only players to accomplish the feat. The Panda finished 4 for 4 (he added an opposite field bullet single, just for good measure) and the Giants won the game 8-3.

Twenty-three-year-old left-handed starter Madison Bumgarner allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings in the Giants’ Game 2 victory. Journeyman Ryan Vogelsong took the ball for manager Bruce Bochy in Game 3, and he delivered. Quietly one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons, Vogelsong led the National League in ERA for much of the first half of the season (yet he somehow was overlooked and failed to make the All-Star team).

Vogelsong continued his masterful postseason in Game 3, shutting out the Tigers for 5 2/3 innings. He concluded the playoffs with a 3-0 record and a pristine 1.09 ERA. The Giants won 2-0 for the second consecutive game and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Series.

Meanwhile, many so-called “experts” were flabbergasted. Analysts with ESPN could not figure out why the Tigers were losing and talked of the Tigers’ struggles instead of the Giants’ dominance. We saw the same thing in 2010.

The Phillies and Rangers were supposed to bludgeon the Giants with potent offense, but the Giants’ dominant pitching shut them down, just like they did in the last three games against the Cardinals and in the first three games against the Tigers. Although many people failed to give the Giants the respect they deserved, they were one win away from securing their second championship in three years.

And they got it done. Likely NL MVP Buster Posey hit a go-ahead home run. Brandon Crawford continued to prove he is the best defensive shortstop in the league. The Giants’ bullpen dominated Detroit’s dangerous hitters. Scutaro delivered another clutch hit as he put the Giants ahead for good in extra innings.

Sergio Romo came in to pitch the Giants to a title.

With two outs and nobody on base in a 4-3 game in the 10th inning, Romo faced probable AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, who homered earlier in the game. Romo shook off Posey’s sign for a slider. He wanted to throw a fastball. Romo came set, wound, and fired. His two-seam fastball cut from left to right across the outside edge of the plate. The 89-mph two-seam fastball froze Cabrera for a called strike three. Posey and the Giants mobbed the mound. The Series was over.

The Giants swept the mighty Tigers in four games, shocking the baseball world. And while some “experts” may not agree, the Giants are the best in the business and the Bay Area boasts a dynasty.

Roethlisberger Drive Leads Steelers to Super Bowl Victory

For the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLIII, journalists and expert football analysts across the United States believed the game would be a battle of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ league-best defense, and the Arizona Cardinal’s high scoring aerial attack. Whatever unit performed better would mean a Super Bowl win. But all of these analysts and journalists overlooked the real key to the game, Pittsburgh’s offense. And when the game came to an end, it was the Steelers’ offense that won the game.

With 2:37 remaining in the game, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ went onto the field trailing 23-20. They would have to go 78 yards down the field to score the game-winning touchdown. The team looked to Big Ben to carry them to a Super Bowl victory and Roethlisberger responded with one of the best game-winning drives in Super Bowl history. Roethlisberger did his best John Elway imitation, by driving 88 yards down the field, after a first-down holding penalty, and eventually throwing the game winning six-yard touchdown to Santonio Holmes. On that final drive, Roethlisberger completed five of his seven pass attempts, throwing for 84 yards, including the game-deciding touchdown.

Holmes was Roethlisberger’s main target throughout the game, catching nine passes while accumulating a total of 131 yards while also catching the most important pass of the game, which was his only touchdown. His amazing performance allowed Holmes to deservingly win the Super Bowl MVP trophy. With Hines Ward slowed by injury, Holmes stepped his game up and carried the passing game on his shoulders.

Although this game had an amazing finish to it, it would have been a completely different game had the Arizona Cardinals not come back to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals entered the fourth quarter trailing by 13 points. They went onto to score 16 unanswered points in the quarter, largely because of the tandem of Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald. The tandem was one of the largest reasons why the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl, as both players had a fantastic post-season. Warner connected with Fitzgerald on back to back drives, with two huge touchdowns. The second touchdown was a play of beauty as Warner threw a short, in-route to Fitzgerald, who turned up field and ran 64 yards into the end zone. But this play was overshadowed by two great plays by Steelers’ players.

The first play happened at the end of the first, with the Cardinals in the red zone, down by three. Warner dropped back looking to throw a quick slant to Anquan Boldin for the touchdown but James Harrison, the defensive player of the year, stepped in front of the pass and rumbled down the field for a 100 yard touchdown to put the Steelers up by 10 going into halftime. The second play was the game-winner, which was a beautifully thrown ball by Ben Roethlisberger to the back of the end zone, over three defenders and into the out-stretched hands of Santonio Holmes, who barely got both feet in bounds.

The lead the Steelers had accumulated was almost undone by all the penalties they committed. It seemed like on every drive, they committed at least one big penalty that stalled their drive or made it harder for them to score. But some how the Steelers were able to over come the penalties and win the game with a miraculous finish.

This Super Bowl win gives the Pittsburgh Steelers a total of six Super Bowl victories, which allows them to surpass the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys with the most Super Bowl victories in NFL history. The 49ers and Cowboys have five Super Bowl wins each. And they did this in dramatic style, winning one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.

Not only does this Super Bowl put the Steelers on top of the list of most successful organizations in the NFL, it also enhanced Ben Roethlisberger’s legacy, where he will always be remembered for his amazing performance. Ten years from now people will still be talking about this game and that game winning drive. If you missed this game, you missed one of the best football games you will ever see. Hopefully next year’s Super Bowl will match this one in terms of excitement.