Neither the Cincinnati Reds nor the St. Louis Cardinals were able to put away the San Francisco Giants when they had the chance.
The American League champion Detroit Tigers get their opportunity beginning Wednesday, when they take on the National League champion Giants in Game 1 of the World Series at AT&T Park. San Francisco was on the verge of being swept by Cincinnati in the best-of-five NL Division Series before rallying to win the final three contests.
St. Louis captured three of the first four games of the NL Championship Series before the Giants went on to become the 12th team in major league history - and fifth NL club - to overcome a 3-1 series deficit as they won the franchise's 22nd NL pennant. San Francisco's starting pitchers were outstanding during the comeback, allowing only one run in 20 1/3 innings over the final three NLCS games.
The Giants, who are appearing in their 19th overall World Series, fifth since moving from New York to San Francisco and second in three years, will face a Tigers team that has been resting since completing a four-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the ALCS on Thursday.
Detroit is making its 11th trip to the Fall Classic and first since 2006, when it lost to St. Louis. The Tigers have not won a championship since defeating the San Diego Padres in 1984. Manager Jim Leyland, whose roster includes reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, said ALCS MVP Delmon Young will play left field in Game 1 with no designated hitter in the NL park. Young, who appeared in left field in only 31 regular-season games, batted .353 (6-for-17) with two home runs and six RBIs in the ALCS, recording the game-winning RBI in all four contests.
San Francisco's Marco Scutaro was named the NLCS MVP as he went 14-for-28 (.500) after hitting only .150 (3-for-20) in the NLDS. Scutaro, who was acquired from the Colorado Rockies on July 26, tied the LCS record with his 14 hits while setting an LCS mark with six multi-hit performances.
Pitching matchup: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (3-0, 0.74 ERA) vs. Giants LH Barry Zito (1-0, 1.74)
Verlander is looking to remain perfect this postseason as he was dominant in his first three starts, allowing 10 hits and two runs over 24 1/3 innings with five walks and 25 strikeouts. The 29-year-old was less than impressive as a rookie in his first World Series, going 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts against St. Louis in 2006. Verlander's lone career outing against the Giants came on June 16, 2008, when he yielded three runs - two earned - and five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in a no-decision.
San Francisco will counter with veteran Barry Zito, who came up with a huge effort in Game 5 of the NLCS to keep the Giants' hopes alive. The left-hander tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings against St. Louis, allowing six hits and one walk while striking out six and delivering an RBI bunt single. Zito, who was kept off San Francisco's postseason roster during its run to the 2010 world championship, is 8-6 with a 2.91 ERA in 16 career starts against the Tigers.
On the three previous occasions when one LCS lasted seven games and the other ended in a sweep, the team that went the distance went on to win the World Series.
The Giants have won six world championships while the Tigers have captured four.
San Francisco outscored its opponents 36-9 while going 6-0 in elimination games and routed St. Louis 20-1 over the final three NLCS contests. The Giants posted the first Game Seven victory in franchise history Monday against the Cardinals.