Never-say-die Giants cap season of surprises

Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:11pm EST
 
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The never-say-die San Francisco Giants' rousing drive to the World Series title capped a year of surprises, sensational individual achievements and big-name doping controversies in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Miguel Cabrera of the pennant-winning Detroit Tigers claimed the first Triple Crown sweep of the American League's (AL) major offensive categories in 45 years by slugging 44 home runs with 139 runs batted in, while batting .330.

San Francisco's Matt Cain, Phillip Humber of the Chicago White Sox and Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners put their names in the record books with perfect games, a remarkable triple considering the total of 23 perfectos since Lee Richmond threw MLB's first recorded one in 1880 for Worcester.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout had one of the best rookie seasons ever, hitting 30 home runs, 83 RBIs, batting .326 and leading MLB with 49 stolen bases to finish runner-up to Cabrera in the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) voting at age 21.

Those feats marked 2012 as a special year, with the Giants' rise to the top providing the crowning touch.

San Francisco fought off elimination six times during the playoffs, overcoming a 2-0 deficit with three straight road wins in the best-of-five Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, and battling back from 3-1 down against the 2011 champion St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series.

VENEZUELA POWER

In the Fall Classic against the Tigers, the Giants served immediate notice they would no longer play from behind.   Continued...

 
Venezuelan baseball player Miguel Cabrera of the Major League Baseball's Detroit Tigers attends an event to donate sports equipment to young athletes in Maracay November 22, 2012. REUTERS/Gil Montano