Renteria delivers another big World Series hit

Edgar Renteria now has a World Series home run to go along with

his more famous Series-ending hit 13 years ago.

Renteria broke up a scoreless game with a solo homer off C.J.

Wilson in the fifth inning and added a two-run single in the eighth

to help the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers 9-0

Thursday night in Game 2 to take a 2-0 lead in the Series.

”He knows that he’s almost at the end of his career and he

wanted to be in the playoffs,” hitting coach Hensley Meulens said.

”Once we got here, he wanted to go to the big dance one more time.

There’s no bigger time that we needed him and he’s getting big

hits.”

Renteria’s most famous moment came as a 22-year-old with Florida

in 1997, when he hit a game-ending single off Charles Nagy with two

outs in the 11th inning of Game 7 to give the Marlins a 3-2 win

over Cleveland and their first World Series title.

”Everything happened to me great in that game, the hit in

’97,” Renteria said. ”Today I was happy. I was proud and I know

my family’s proud, too.”

Renteria ended another World Series in less celebratory fashion,

hitting a comebacker for the final out in Boston’s World Series

sweep of St. Louis in 2004 that gave the Red Sox their first title

since 1918.

With Renteria mulling retirement at the end of the season, he

did his best to help another franchise move a step closer to ending

a long championship drought. The Giants have not won the World

Series since moving to San Francisco for the 1958 season.

They need to win two more games to get that elusive title. With

the next three games in Texas, the Giants could return home as

champions.

”He kept telling us we needed him all the way to the end. He

wasn’t lying,” Meulens said. ”As a professional and a 15-year

veteran in this game, he’s showing what he’s all about. He’s all

about business, he’s all about playing in big games. He’s done it

before. As a rookie in Florida he got a big hit for them to win. He

was in the World Series with the Cardinals and obviously today with

that big home run to put us on the board.”

Renteria was an unlikely contributor, considering he started the

playoffs on the bench after another rough regular season filled

with injuries and lack of production.

But he worked his way back into the lineup and made his biggest

contribution with San Francisco on the game’s biggest stage. With

Wilson and Matt Cain locked in a scoreless duel, Renteria stepped

to the plate with one out in the bottom of the fifth.

Wilson left an 0-1 pitch up in the zone and Renteria made him

pay for the mistake by driving it into the left-field seats.

Renteria had gone 53 straight at-bats without a home run since

connecting off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Ted Lilly on Sept. 4 and

had not homered at AT&T Park since July 27 against Florida’s

Brian Sanches.

”Unbelievable. You guys know I have power,” he joked. ”He

just threw me a fastball in and I just put a good swing on the

ball.”

Renteria wasn’t done, hitting a two-run single in a seven-run

eighth that extended the lead to 6-0.

Renteria has mostly been a disappointment since signing an $18.5

million, two-year deal with the Giants before last season. He hit

just .250 last season and then was limited to 72 games this year

because of three stints on the disabled list with groin, hamstring

and biceps injuries.

He batted .276 with three homers and 22 RBIs and was somewhat of

a forgotten man at the start of the postseason. He did not start in

the first five games before getting a chance because of a wrist

injury to Juan Uribe and the struggles from Pablo Sandoval.

He singled and scored the Giants first run in a Game 3 win over

Philadelphia in the NL championship series, and added a hit and two

runs scored in the World Series opener.

Meulens said managing partner Bill Neukom has repeatedly

approached Renteria to keep him on track – which Meulens believes

lifted Renteria’s spirits.

”Mr. Neukom tells him, ‘We’re not done with you,”’ Meulens

said. ”Mr. Neukom is a big fan of Edgar and every day he tells

him.”

Renteria has a lot more fans in San Francisco now.