PHILADELPHIA — They're quite a band of characters these Giants, their own manager routinely referring to them as castoffs and misfits and comparing them to the motley crew of the movie The Dirty Dozen.
Well, now there's something else to call ex-Rays Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff and the rest of them, and that's National League champs. Oh, and World Series hosts, starting Wednesday in San Francisco in a most unlikely pairing with the Texas Rangers.
"There's no better feeling in the world," Huff said amid an extremely wild and wet celebration in the Giants clubhouse. "And it's not over yet. We've got a big series against the Rangers. I know America probably wanted to see the Yankees and Phillies but, you know what, it's time for some new blood."
The Giants are going to the World Series, and the Phillies, who won more games than any team during the season, are going home after a 3-2 Game 6 win that, typical of the Giants' amazing season, featured an unlikely star.
Veteran infielder Juan Uribe, hitting .080 for the postseason coming into Saturday, delivered a two-out opposite-field home run in the eighth to provide the difference. Then the Giants hung on as the Phillies got two on in the eighth and ninth before closer Brian Wilson got Ryan Howard looking at strike three, the raucous Citizens Bank Park crowd of 46,062 falling silent as the Giants started the celebration on the infield then took it inside.
"We get a lot of family and friends telling us we give them heart attacks with these games. But I think we've been prepared for these games, we had them all year," Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez said. "We have a lot of heroes, a lot of guys that just want to win and everyone steps up."
The game was tense throughout, tied at 2 from the third inning on, with the benches and bullpens emptying — though with little more than milling about in a scrum near first base — after an odd exchange in the bottom of the third when Philadelphia's Chase Utley was hit by a pitch from Jonathan Sanchez and flipped the ball back to the mound.
Uribe, 31, had an eventful series, forced out of the Game 2 lineup due to a bruised left wrist that required an MRI exam then delivering the Game 4-winning run with a walkoff sac fly.
Outfielder Cody Ross was named MVP of the series.
Huff played a big part in the win, singling in the Giants' first run and scoring the second on an errant throw, then starting a game-saving double play when he snared Carlos Ruiz's eighth-inning liner and doubled Shane Victorino off second.
"Nine years of getting killed (on the Rays and other losing teams) and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat to get to do this again," Huff said, escaping the beer and champagne showers to grab and kiss the NL championship trophy.
The Giants got to the World Series for the fourth time since moving west but are still seeking their first San Francisco treat, having lost in 1962 to the Yankees, in the 1989 earthquake series to the A's and in 2002 to the Angels (and bench coach Joe Maddon).
Having missed a chance to clinch at home in Thursday's Game 5, the Giants were treating Saturday as a must-win, with manager Bruce Bochy pulling Sanchez in the third and bringing in three consecutive lefties then ace starter Tim Lincecum — on one day's rest — to start the eighth before turning it over to bearded closer Wilson.
The Phillies got six effective six innings from Roy Oswalt, who allowed nine hits but only the two runs, but as was the case much of the series, they failed to deliver the hits when they needed them.
Two tosses and a few choice words led to the benches and bullpens clearing in the third inning. Utley was hit in the back by a 2-and-0 pitch from Sanchez and as the ball bounced to him, Utley flipped it to the back of the mound and headed to first. Sanchez took exception, yelling something at Utley. Utley didn't like that, taking a couple of steps off first and gesturing with his hands, then turning back.
But that was enough action to rile the rest of them, as both benches and bullpens emptied, with no real action.
"They deserve to move on and I hope they go and win it," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I felt like it was a good series but they played us real tough and they earned everything they got and I want to congratulate them."
The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Giants tied it with a bit of an odd rally in the third, taking advantage of an errant throw from third by Placido Polanco.