The San Francisco Giants shocked the baseball world in 2012. They came back from down 3-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals, and won seven straight games to clinch the 2012 World Series, their second in three years. It couldn’t have been done without that bullpen performance though.
Making a personal memory of this epic moment in San Francisco Giants history, I actually had to play in a Sunday night “Halloween Party” gig for my school. I had moved from California to Chicagoland, lived next door to, and across the hall from a few Tigers fans. My gig finished around the sixth inning of the game and sprinted across campus back to my dorm to pull up and watch those final three innings.
Matt Cain didn’t have his best stuff that night. He gave up a couple home-runs but hung on through seven innings, keeping it tied. Then, in came Jeremy Affeldt. He walked his first batter, giving plenty of people some stress. He then struck out three in a row, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young. One of the most stressful innings of the series, and that bullpen got them out of it, yet again.
Casilla came in for one out in the ninth and got the job done. Then, up came Scutaro and Theriot. Theriot’s single to right, the sacrifice bunt, and then the expert base hit from Marco Scutaro. The Giants led, I screamed, and I knew what was about to happen, but Romo still had to get through his half of the inning.
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Romo struck out the side as we all know, ringing up Miguel Cabrera, the MVP and most feared hitter in baseball with one of the ballsiest pitches I think I’ve ever witnessed. A steady dose of sliders followed by his 15th pitch, the ballsiest of them all, a straight fastball right down the middle. It froze Cabrera, who was probably waiting for the ball to break.
Cabrera, as many knew had been talking with Romo earlier in the series, telling him he’d be waiting for his slider. In the end, Romo gave him the opposite of what he was looking for, completely freezing him in his tracks.
That pitch encapsulated that 2012 Giants run. They didn’t win it on Dingers and Runs. They won it on pitching, defense, and execution of the plan according to a great attention to detail.
They outsmarted everyone and executed to go along with it. It helps to have the dominant pitching performance they did, but at the same time, they really won it all thanks to brilliant execution when it mattered most.
Romo’s tenth inning was arguably the best inning of his career, taking into account the gravity of the moment, and that final pitch, that final pitch was the emphasis on what is greatest San Francisco Giants team the city has truly ever known.