Not when Renteria, the No. 8 hitter, dug into the batter’s box with two outs and men on second and third base in the seventh inning. Not when Lee missed on his first couple of pitches, giving the 15-year veteran and 1997 World Series hero a 2-0 count.
Renteria hit the next pitch, a cutter that stayed up in the zone and in the middle out the plate, out of the park for a three-run homer. That provided all the offense the Giants needed in a 3-1 win to clinch San Francisco’s first World Series title.
“I was trying to throw him a strike the first and second pitch,” said Lee, who allowed three runs on six hits and no walks in seven innings. “I don’t want to walk anyone. He put a good swing on it. That’s that. You don’t want to walk anyone.”
Catcher Bengie Molina wouldn’t have minded walking Renteria in that situation. He said he called for a cutter away.
“Hopefully, closer to a ball then a strike,” Molina said. “I knew first base was open and Renteria had been having a good series. [No. 9 hitter Aaron] Rowand hadn’t been playing. I was trying to get to Rowand, but he didn’t let us."
Renteria, the World Series MVP, was willing to take a walk. He said that once he got a 2-0 count, he was looking for one pitch to hit and working the count if he didn’t get it. He got it, hitting a cutter 397 feet, just over the fence in left-center field.
“I got lucky,” Renteria said. “He throw cutter inside, the ball no cut. So the ball stayed in the middle.”
Lee wasn’t pleased with the pitch he made. He did not, however, regret his decision to be aggressive against Renteria.
“That’s the way I pitched all year,” said Lee, who lost twice in the World Series after winning his first seven postseason decisions. “I don’t want to walk a single batter. He put a good swing on it and hit a home run. There’s nothing I can do about it right now.”