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Giant surprise: A World Series sweep

Getty Images/Doug Pensinger

Pablo Sandoval’s three-homer game in Game 1 set the tone for the 2012 World Series sweep. The 2012 World Series ended in dramatic fashion, with San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo catching Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera looking with a fastball for Game 4’s final strike.

It was the first called strikeout for Romo all postseason. He’d been known to throw the slider with two strikes, but he caught Cabrera by surprise with that pitch.

That was fitting, because this was a series of surprises. Let’s summarize some of the highlights here.

A significant sweep

This was the Giants' seventh World Series title and their third World Series sweep. Their previous sweep was in 1954 against the Cleveland Indians.

World Series Sweeps by NL Teams

The Giants' seven World Series titles are tied for fourth-most all-time with the Boston Red Sox. They passed the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second-most by a National League franchise. Only the St. Louis Cardinals have more among NL teams, with 11.

The Giants are the first team to sweep a World Series since the 2007 Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies. It’s the first sweep by an NL team since the 1990 Cincinnati Reds swept the Oakland Athletics.

The Giants became the first team to win an NL Championship Series in seven games and then sweep a World Series. The only teams to do so in the American League are the 2004 Red Sox and 2007 Red Sox.

Teams to Win 2 WS in 3-Year Span
NL History

The Giants have won six straight World Series games, tied for the second-longest streak by an NL team. The Reds won nine straight from 1975 to 1990.

The Giants are the first NL team to win two World Series in a three-year span since the 1975 and 1976 Reds. The Reds also swept for the second of those two victories.

This marked the first time the NL has won three straight World Series since the NL won four straight from 1979 to 1982. That’s the only time the NL has won more than three straight World Series.

Most Valuable Panda

Pablo Sandoval won World Series MVP honors, marking the second straight year they were won by a third baseman. David Freese of the Cardinals took home that trophy last season.

Sandoval hit .500 with three homers in the World Series, benchmarks hit previously by only Babe Ruth (1928 Yankees), Lou Gehrig (1928 and 1932 Yankees) and Hideki Matsui.

Sandoval is the fifth third baseman to win World Series MVP honors in the past 15 seasons, joining Scott Brosius (1998 Yankees), Troy Glaus (2002 Angels), Mike Lowell (2007 Red Sox) and Freese.

Sandoval set a Giants record for most hits in a single postseason, breaking the previous mark set by J.T. Snow in 2002.

Scutaro’s Giant moment

Marco Scutaro, nearly knocked out of the postseason by a Matt Holliday slide, had the game-winning hit in the 10th inning Sunday. He’s the fourth player to get an extra-inning game-winning RBI in a World Series clincher on the road.

He’s in the company of three Hall of Famers: Mel Ott (1933 Giants), Joe DiMaggio (1939 Yankees) and Dave Winfield (1992 Blue Jays).

Giants Among Men

Although Sandoval won MVP honors, one of the biggest stories of the season was the Giants' pitching staff.

Giants pitchers held the Tigers to a .159 batting average, the third-lowest by a team in a single World Series. The only teams that fared worse than the Tigers were the 1966 Dodgers (.142) and 1969 Orioles (.146).

Giants pitchers allowed six runs in the World Series, tied for the third-fewest by an NL team, and the fewest since the 1963 Dodgers limited the Yankees to four runs.

The NL record is three runs allowed, set by the Giants' franchise as well -- against the Philadelphia Athletics in 1905.