The San Francisco Giants didn't clinch a spot in the playoffs until the final game of the regular season. But they sure cruised after that.
First, the Giants arms shut the Atlanta Braves down. Then they disposed of Phillies -- the team expected to repeat as Champions. Here are some of the great photos from the night the Giants won the Pennant.
In the World Series, the Giants again were underrated and underdogs against the vaunted offense of the Texas Rangers.
Now, for the first time in San Francisco, and the first time in 56 years for the franchise, the Giants are World Series Champions.
Here's how it happened:
An expected pitcher's duel -- Tim Lincecum versus Cliff Lee -- turned into a hitters rampage. After falling behind 2-0 -- including an admitted "brain fart" by Lincecum -- the Giants bats came alive, scoring two runs in the third and six in the fifth. Lincecum made it stand up in an 11-7 win. got it together and pulled out a win.
This first game in the City also produced an Internet sensation named Newy Scruggs. The NBC DFW sports anchor noticed a few fans smoking pot on the banks of McCovey Cove and declared on TV, "That's Weed! That's weed." The clip went viral and Newy became an instant celebrity at the following home game. He said he posed with dozens of people who called him "the weed guy."
Pundits expected another pitcher's duel, this time between Matt Cain and CJ Wilson. The Giants came through, but the Rangers' bullpen fell apart. The Giants scored seven runs in the eigth and turned it into a 9-0 laugh fest. Headlines for this dominant performance included "Texas CAIN-saw Masacre."
The series switched to Texas and so did the momentum. The Giants lost 4-2. It was a second consecutive rough outing for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. Mitch Moreland battled Sanchez for nine pitches in his first at bat before crushing a 3-run home run. Josh Hamilton hit a solo homer in the fifth, chasing Sanchez.
Cody Ross continued his magical post-season with a solo homer in the seventh. Andres Torres added a home run of his own in the eigth, but it wasn't enough. The hope of a World Series sweep was dashed, but the team remained up in the World Series 2-1.
A Sunday night affair back in Arlington. It was a night of rookies looking like veterans, and a wily vet enjoying success near the town where he grew up. Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff, the DH of the game, made a triumphant homecoming by drilling a 2-run home run in the third inning to start the scoring. That is all the Giants would have needed to win thanks to a dominating performance by 21-year-old rookie Madison Bumgarner who pitched eight complete shut out innings. Giants put two more on the board at the bats of Buster Posey and Andres Torres. Giants win 4-0.
Next up is a parade down Market Street. The city of San Francisco hasn't had one of those since 1995.
GAME FIVE: THE CLENCHER
In what must have been one of the fastest first seven innings of post-season baseball, as the Giants ace Tim Lincecum went pitch-for-pitch with Rangers ace Cliff Lee.
Lee, only a few days ago considered one of the best post-season pitchers of all time, teetered only once -- when Edgar Renteria launched a three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning.
Renteria, only a few months ago considered finished as a player, took this squad on his back in the NLCS and in the World Series.
In the bottom of the seventh, Nelson Cruz hit a solo homer off of a rushing Lincecum. The ace settled down and struck out the final two batters of that inning. He then pitched a complete eighth inning.
The score remained the same into the bottom of the ninth when Brian 'Fear the Beard' Wilson came in to close.
With a minimal amount of drama -- shocking for these torturous Giants -- he closed out the Texas Rangers, sealing the victory and the first World Series championship for the Giants franchise since they moved to San Francisco in 1958.