ARLINGTON, Texas — About the only predictable characteristic of the Giants all season long was how unpredictable they were. And Monday night, breaking the hearts of Texas, the Giants capped their season in the most unexpected way: with a World Series championship.
The 3-1 win over the Rangers gave the Giants their first title since 1954, before the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco, and fittingly it came with an unexpected twist: a three-run seventh-inning home run from aging and forgotten Edgar Renteria — who was named the Series MVP — after the first sacrifice bunt of former Ray Aubrey Huff's career.
Unexpected. Unpredictable. Unbelievable.
"Determination," general manager Brian Sabean said. "They had a will about them. Simply put, we have a lot of characters with a lot of character. It's like the United Nations in here — a very diverse group. But when they get on the field, they have a way about them that's fearless."
The championship was significant for the franchise, for the city, for the people — some no longer involved, such as former owner Peter Magowan — who led the fight to keep the team from moving to St. Petersburg in the early 1990s.
"A great thing," managing general partner Bill Neukom said.
It was especially emotional for Huff, the former longtime Ray who had been thrilled just to make the postseason for the first time, as he broke down in tears during the overly wet, wild and loud clubhouse celebration.
"It's been such a long grind for me for nine years and then to make it and be here and do this, I can't believe it happened," he said. "I always try to be the (tough guy), but I'm losing it right now, and I don't care. Anyone in my situation I'm sure would do the same.
"I feel like celebrating, but I can't move. What a story for me. I'm just out of words."
Renteria's home run gave the Giants the lead they needed, starter Tim Lincecum got them through the eighth — allowing only three hits — and closer Brian Wilson finished, striking out Nelson Cruz for the final out to ignite a celebration that started on the field and spread quickly back to the West Coast.
"We'll be there soon," said Giants outfielder Pat Burrell, who went from being released by the Rays to earning another championship — even though he went 0-for-13 with 11 strikeouts in the five games.
The Rangers, who eliminated the Rays and the Yankees on their way to the Series, didn't put up much of a fight, shut down by the Giants' overwhelming pitching. The Rangers hit just .190 for the Series and scored only 12 runs. To look at it another way: the Rangers had 29 hits for the Series while the Giants scored 29 runs.
The Giants just did what they do.
"We were underdogs the whole way, and all the experts out there picked us last," Huff said. "But we had heart, great pitching, defense and timely hitting. Experts be damned."
That was certainly how it played out in Monday's Game 5. Blanked for six innings by Rangers ace Cliff Lee, in the duel with Lincecum that was expected in the opener, the Giants struck in the seventh.
Cody Ross and Juan Uribe — two more veterans who found success in orange and black — started the inning with back-to-back singles off Lee.
Then Huff dropped down the first sacrifice bunt of his major-league career. "I got the bunt sign, but I was going to do it anyway," Huff said. "Lay it down and hope for the best."
That set up Burrell to be the star, but he instead struck out — which really wasn't that unexpected. That brought up Renteria, the 34-year-old heading toward the end of his career. And all he did — after hitting only three homers in a miserable season marked by injury and inconsistency — was hit his second huge homer in the past four games. Better yet, he told Andres Torres before he went to the plate that he was going to do it.
"I've got confidence in me, but I was joking like I'm going to get it out," Renteria said. "But it went out."
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.