Giants BP helps close out Tigers in World Series

Giants BP helps close out Tigers in World Series
October 29, 2012, 2:30 am
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San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo (54) and catcher Buster Posey (left) celebrate after Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) strikes out to end game four of the 2012 World Series at Comerica Park. The Giants won 4-3 to sweep the series.

(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

DETROIT (AP) Jeremy Affeldt was first. Then Santiago Casilla came on and got the ball to Sergio Romo, who closed it out for San Francisco.

When Matt Cain was unable to finish off the Detroit Tigers, his buddies in the bullpen took over.

Affeldt, Casilla and Romo combined for three scoreless innings in relief of Cain, striking out seven in all to help the Giants to a 4-3 victory in Game 4 that clinched the World Series title for the Giants on Sunday night.

Romo struck out the side in the 10th inning, including Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for the final out, for his fourth save of the postseason.

``He's a guy you want out there,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ``He's not afraid and commands the ball so well. Really, I know this is a play on words, he saved us all year.''

The 5-foot-11 right-hander became the first pitcher to save at least three games in the World Series since John Wetteland did it for the New York Yankees in 1996.

``Romo has that unhittable slider and he never let the moment get to him,'' fellow Giants pitcher Javier Lopez said. ``He just went in there and attacked the zone like he's done all year long and you saw the results.

``He's a little man that pitches like a big man.''

Casilla hit Omar Infante, breaking his left hand, in the ninth, but bounced back by getting Gerald Laird to hit into a fielder's choice and got the win.

Affeldt gave up a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, then struck out the middle of Detroit's lineup - Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young - while pitching 1 2-3 innings.

While the bullpen gets credit for its performance, Affeldt dished some back to Cain.

``What an amazing job keeping us in the game seven innings so we didn't need to use our `pen until late in the game,'' Affeldt said.

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RETURN TRIP: Manager Bruce Bochy guided San Francisco to the 2010 championship and to another title on Sunday night.

But long before that, he was a backup catcher for the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series.

``That was so long ago, but it is amazing how things come back around,'' Bochy said.

In his only at-bat, he got a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning of Game 5 at Tiger Stadium, the day Detroit closed out the championship.

``I have great memories of being in the World Series, not real good ones on how it came out,'' he said.

``But what a thrill for any player, and of course myself, when you get to the World Series for the first time. We had split in San Diego, then came here and they beat us here,'' he said. ``But great time for me, I got one at-bat, and I was thrilled that Dick Williams put me in there.''

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HALL OF FAME PRAISE: Al Kaline played in an era of greats, from Ted Williams to Mickey Mantle to Reggie Jackson.

Yet the former Detroit standout says the top guy he watched was someone he never faced in a regular-season game.

Kaline, now 77 and a special assistant for the Tigers, was at AT&T Park in San Francisco earlier in the World Series. Willie Mays, at 81, took part in the first-ball ceremony honoring Giants stars before Game 1.

``Willie Mays was the best player I ever saw,'' Kaline said. ``I was lucky to see a lot of them. But Willie was something special.''

``To me, he was the poster boy for baseball. The way he played, his enthusiasm and his ability,'' Kaline said of his fellow Hall of Famer.

The Tigers and Giants had never met in postseason play before this year, and there was no interleague play in their day. With Detroit working out in Florida and the Giants in Arizona, they didn't see each other in spring training.

Mays made his first All-Star team in 1954 and Kaline was first picked a year later. They were then chosen in every summer showcase through 1967.

``That's where I got to see him, and he was fun to watch. He could really play,'' Kaline said.

Kaline, however, said he never got to spend much time with Mays.

``I see him at the Hall of Fame and like to stop by, shake his hand and just be who I am,'' he said. ``I'm not kidding myself. I was a good player. But he was great. There aren't too many who were at his level.''

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ON PITCH: Jim Leyland is in tune with Justin Verlander.

``I'm aware of his singing skills,'' the Tigers' ace said Sunday. ``I've seen it a couple times at some hotels. In the hotel bar sometimes they'll have a setup and he gets on the mic.''

Leyland has managed the Tigers since 2006. Verlander's entire career has been under Leyland, except for his first two games in 2005.

``He's an old school manager, and I feel maybe if I had played for a different manager, things might not be the same as they are now, where they let me go out and be that workhorse and throw 120 pitches an outing,'' Verlander said.

``You see some teams that are a little different in that regard. But I consider myself an old school pitcher, and I think Skip considers himself an old school manager. He allows me to go out there and do what I do.''