An NL team won the title for the third straight season, a run that hadn't occurred in 30 years. Some find the streak surprising, considering the AL's recent dominance in interleague play. Yet as every fan knows, the club that pitches best in the postseason usually prevails.
Until the end, the Tigers thought one big hit could shift the momentum. It was an all-too-familiar October lament -- Texas felt the same way when the Giants throttled it in 2010, and the Tigers knew the feeling when St. Louis wiped them out in 2006.
"For one, we didn't allow doubt to ever creep in," Pence said. "You know, the thing that made this team so special is just playing as a team, caring for each other. We had our backs against the wall and we knew it wasn't going to be easy. It's not supposed to be."
Howling winds made it feel much colder than the 44 degrees at gametime. Two wrappers blew across home plate after leadoff man Angel Pagan struck out, and fly balls played tricks in the breeze.
The Giants started with their pregame ritual. They clustered around Pence in the dugout, quickly turning into a bobbing, whooping, pulsing pack, showering themselves with sunflower seeds. A big league good-luck charm, Little League style.
"That was one of our mottos, and we went out there to enjoy every minute of it and it was hard earned. Just an incredible, incredible group of guys that fought for each other," Pence said.
Once again, San Francisco took an early lead. Pence hit a one-hop drive over the center-field fence for a double and Brandon Belt tripled on the next pitch for a 1-0 lead in the second.
The next inning, Cabrera gave the Tigers a reason to think this might be their night.
With two outs and a runner on first, Cabrera lofted an opposite-field fly to right -- off the bat, it looked like a routine out shy of the warning track. But with winds gusting over 25 mph, the ball kept carrying, Pence kept drifting toward the wall and the crowd kept getting louder.
Just like that, it was gone.
Cabrera's homer gave Detroit its first lead of the Series, ended its 20-inning scoreless streak and reaffirmed a pregame observation by Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline.
"The wind usually blows to right at this time of year," Kaline said.
Trailing for the first time since Game 4 of the NLCS, Posey and the Giants put a dent in Detroit's optimism. Scutaro led off the sixth with a single and clapped all the way around the bases when Posey sent a shot that sailed just inside the left-field foul pole for a 3-2 lead.
Detroit wasn't about to go quietly, however. Young, the ALCS MVP against the Yankees, made it 3-all with another opposite-field homer to right, this one a no-doubt drive.
Fielder finished 1 for 14 (.071) against the Giants without an RBI. Minus key hits, the Tigers remained without a title since 1984.All 24 teams to take a 3-0 lead in the World Series have won it all.
In fact, none of those matchups even reached a Game 6. This was the first sweep for an NL team since Cincinnati in 1990.
Working on nine days' rest and trying to extend the Tigers' season, Scherzer kept them close into the seventh. Often recognized for his eyes -- one is light blue, the other is brown -- he's also known as a solid postseason pitcher.
Ditto-plus for Matt Cain, who was working on a nearly perfect year.
The Giants' ace threw a perfect game in June, was the winning pitcher in the All-Star Game in July, beat Cincinnati to clinch the division series and topped St. Louis in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series.
After they left, the relievers decided it.
Octavio Dotel shouted, "Yeah! Let's go!" toward his dugout after striking out Posey to end the eighth. In the bottom half, winning pitcher Jeremy Affeldt got around a leadoff walk when he struck out Cabrera, a flinching Fielder and Young.
Coke returned the favor in the top of the ninth, fanning the side. With Jose Valverde having lost his closer role during a shaky month, Coke stayed in for the 10th and faltered.
The Giants became the first champion that hit the fewest home runs in the majors since St. Louis in 1982. Sandoval's three drives in Game 1 started San Francisco's romp, and its dominant pitching took over from there.
The parade to a sweep masked the problems San Francisco overcame to get this far.