By Sean McAdam
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The last time the San Francisco Giants were this close to a World Series championship, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey were barely out of middle school.
And the previous World Series appearance before that? Posey was all of 2 12 and Bumgarner was two months old.
History may be lost on them. They're too busy making it to worry about it.
Sunday night, Bumgarner, 21, was brilliant, limiting the Texas Rangers to three measly hits and Posey, 23, was helping to call his second shutout in the last four games while adding a solo homer.
Together, they led the Giants to a 4-0 victory over Texas, and to within a game of the Giants' first title since 1954. Together, they also represented the first rookie battery to start a World Series game since 1947.
Neither began this season in the major leagues. Posey was brought up in the final week of May and spent his first month with the Giants playing first base. Bumgarner wasn't summoned until the last weekend of June, making his 2010 debut against the Red Sox.
Sunday, they were linked, pushing the Rangers to the edge and positioning the Giants to within a victory of the title which has eluded the franchise for so long.
"I didn't expect this in my wildest dreams,'' gushed Bumgarner, who became the fifth-youngest pitcher in history to start a World Series game.
Posey, as perhaps befits someone two whole years older than his starting pitcher, seemed a little less overwhelmed by the historical nature of the battery, but nonetheless labeled it "pretty cool.''
"I think it's probably a little bit harder for some people to believe rather than us,'' he said.
Count the Giants general manager, Brian Sabean, among that group.
"I get choked up,'' said Sabean of watching his newbies thrive on the big stage. "I still have butterflies and a lump in my throat. It's something to behold if you're a purist. It's very unusual. It's humbling because they're amazing people. They're aware of the gravity of all this. I don't know how they balance it. I really don't.
"I've never seen composure like this.''
Bumgarner walked the first hitter he faced, Elvis Andrus, and issued another walk with two out in the second, then didn't walk anyone else over the next six innings.
He faced the minimum number of hitters six times in his eight innings and it wasn't until Mitch Moreland's single to right in the sixth that he allowed a base hit out of the infield.
Posey, his team's cleanup hitter, greeted Texas reliever Darren O'Day by slamming a slider out to center, accounting for the fourth run of the night.
Together, they were as calm as could be, unshaken by the circumstances or the setting, though under some questioning, Bumgarner allowed that, yes, this might be slightly more nerve-wracking than the North Carolina state championship which he referenced recently.
While Bumgarner and Posey took questions, Giants' special assistant Felipe Alou stood off to the side and spoke with reporters about what it would mean if Giants could win Monday night. Or Wednesday or Thursday night back in San Francisco.
Alou, of course, brings a different, deeper perspective, having been in the game for longer than Bumgarner and Posey, combined, have been alive.
He was part of 1962 National League champion Giants who came up one run short against the New York Yankees. Alou attempted to move his brother, Matty, over, but failed so that Matty had to stop at third on a double by Willie Mays. He was stranded there when Willie McCovey's liner was caught by second baseman Bobby Richardson.
"Sometimes, we had great Giants,'' said the sage Alou, recalling past clubs. "But sometimes the team was not as great. A team is not necessarily a bunch of great players together. But this team is a team.''
Alou has said that he still feels haunted by the Giants' inability to win in 1962. McCovey said recently that a win by these Giants would make him feel better.
"Me, too,'' acknowledged Alou. "Matty was still at first base when Willie Mays hit that double that didn't score him. It's a rather sore spot in my career, my life, really.
"But if this team wins, maybe I would forgive me a little bit.''