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Giants BP helps close out Tigers in World Series

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Giants BP helps close out Tigers in World Series

DETROIT (AP) Jeremy Affeldt was first. Then Santiago Casilla came on and got the ball to Sergio Romo, who closed it out for San Francisco.

When Matt Cain was unable to finish off the Detroit Tigers, his buddies in the bullpen took over.

Affeldt, Casilla and Romo combined for three scoreless innings in relief of Cain, striking out seven in all to help the Giants to a 4-3 victory in Game 4 that clinched the World Series title for the Giants on Sunday night.

Romo struck out the side in the 10th inning, including Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera for the final out, for his fourth save of the postseason.

``He's a guy you want out there,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ``He's not afraid and commands the ball so well. Really, I know this is a play on words, he saved us all year.''

The 5-foot-11 right-hander became the first pitcher to save at least three games in the World Series since John Wetteland did it for the New York Yankees in 1996.

``Romo has that unhittable slider and he never let the moment get to him,'' fellow Giants pitcher Javier Lopez said. ``He just went in there and attacked the zone like he's done all year long and you saw the results.

``He's a little man that pitches like a big man.''

Casilla hit Omar Infante, breaking his left hand, in the ninth, but bounced back by getting Gerald Laird to hit into a fielder's choice and got the win.

Affeldt gave up a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, then struck out the middle of Detroit's lineup - Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young - while pitching 1 2-3 innings.

While the bullpen gets credit for its performance, Affeldt dished some back to Cain.

``What an amazing job keeping us in the game seven innings so we didn't need to use our `pen until late in the game,'' Affeldt said.

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RETURN TRIP: Manager Bruce Bochy guided San Francisco to the 2010 championship and to another title on Sunday night.

But long before that, he was a backup catcher for the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series.

``That was so long ago, but it is amazing how things come back around,'' Bochy said.

In his only at-bat, he got a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning of Game 5 at Tiger Stadium, the day Detroit closed out the championship.

``I have great memories of being in the World Series, not real good ones on how it came out,'' he said.

``But what a thrill for any player, and of course myself, when you get to the World Series for the first time. We had split in San Diego, then came here and they beat us here,'' he said. ``But great time for me, I got one at-bat, and I was thrilled that Dick Williams put me in there.''

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HALL OF FAME PRAISE: Al Kaline played in an era of greats, from Ted Williams to Mickey Mantle to Reggie Jackson.

Yet the former Detroit standout says the top guy he watched was someone he never faced in a regular-season game.

Kaline, now 77 and a special assistant for the Tigers, was at AT&T Park in San Francisco earlier in the World Series. Willie Mays, at 81, took part in the first-ball ceremony honoring Giants stars before Game 1.

``Willie Mays was the best player I ever saw,'' Kaline said. ``I was lucky to see a lot of them. But Willie was something special.''

``To me, he was the poster boy for baseball. The way he played, his enthusiasm and his ability,'' Kaline said of his fellow Hall of Famer.

The Tigers and Giants had never met in postseason play before this year, and there was no interleague play in their day. With Detroit working out in Florida and the Giants in Arizona, they didn't see each other in spring training.

Mays made his first All-Star team in 1954 and Kaline was first picked a year later. They were then chosen in every summer showcase through 1967.

``That's where I got to see him, and he was fun to watch. He could really play,'' Kaline said.

Kaline, however, said he never got to spend much time with Mays.

``I see him at the Hall of Fame and like to stop by, shake his hand and just be who I am,'' he said. ``I'm not kidding myself. I was a good player. But he was great. There aren't too many who were at his level.''

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ON PITCH: Jim Leyland is in tune with Justin Verlander.

``I'm aware of his singing skills,'' the Tigers' ace said Sunday. ``I've seen it a couple times at some hotels. In the hotel bar sometimes they'll have a setup and he gets on the mic.''

Leyland has managed the Tigers since 2006. Verlander's entire career has been under Leyland, except for his first two games in 2005.

``He's an old school manager, and I feel maybe if I had played for a different manager, things might not be the same as they are now, where they let me go out and be that workhorse and throw 120 pitches an outing,'' Verlander said.

``You see some teams that are a little different in that regard. But I consider myself an old school pitcher, and I think Skip considers himself an old school manager. He allows me to go out there and do what I do.''

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Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

After calling an inconsistent game throughout the night, the referees made a decision with five minutes to go in Game 4 that nearly altered the entire series between the Wizards and Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan was chasing a rebound on the baseline and ran into Bradley Beal. Beal, who had a team-high 31 points, was levied a sixth and final foul with the score tied. 

Beal had unloaded for 20 points in 12 minutes in the second half, but now the Wizards would have to close it out without their All-Star shooting guard. Somehow, they were able to seal the win and tie the series.

Beal heard the whistle as he laid on the ground. He immediately hopped up and unleashed a tantrum that nobody could blame him for.

He jumped up and down, screaming at the referees, who had just called by all accounts a questionable foul and in a key moment of a playoff game.

Both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were incensed and with good reason.

“I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that."

Beal is probably lucky the referees didn't take offense to his reaction because it continued when he was on the bench. He walked past his teammates and leaned over with his hands on his knees, still furious. Then he returned to the sideline to yell at the refs. Center Ian Mahinmi helped convince him to step back and cool off.

Beal has made a major difference in this series. He averaged 14.0 points in the first two games, both losses. He has averaged 29.5 points in Games 3 and 4, two Wizards wins.

Getting him out of the game was a major break for the Raptors, but they couldn't take advantage. The Wizards closed the final five minutes on a 14-6 tear. John Wall stepped up to lead the charge with eight of those points.

The Wizards still had one star on the court and he played like one.

“Just go in attack mode," Wall said. "When Brad went out, I knew I had to do whatever it took... I just wanted to do whatever, so that we could advance to Game 5, tied 2-2.”

Once Beal composed himself, his confidence grew in his teammates. He and Wall feel comfortable playing without each other because they have done so often throughout their careers.

This year, Wall missed 41 games due to a left knee injury. Two years ago, Beal missed 27 games. Early on in his career, he had trouble staying healthy. Now he is an iron man who played in all 82 games during the 2017-18 regular season.

Beal has grown accustomed to being on the floor a lot, but he realized he can still affect the game from the sidelines.

"I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances," Beal said. "Face the adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

Wall and others did the heavy lifting in the end. The Wizards used Kelly Oubre, Jr. as the shooting guard with Beal out and he made key plays down the stretch, including a steal on Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds.

The Wizards were thrown a significant curveball and they overcame it to put themselves in good position now having won two straight.

“You have to have resolve to win in this league," Brooks said. "You win playoff games and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games and one of them has to be on the road."

When it comes to the officiating, the Wizards deserve credit for their resilience and restraint early in Game 4. The Raptors had 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to the Wizards' four. Washington perservered and ended up with more free throws (31) than the Raptors (30) did for the game.

In Game 1, the Wizards appeared to be affected by a lack of foul calls. That came was called loosely by the referees, while this one was officiated tightly. Though Beal went off, the Wizards for the most part stayed the course and were rewarded for it.

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The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

WASHINGTON -- As the home team in a dire situation you have to take advantage, and that is exactly what the Washington Wizards did in their 106-98 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Highlight reel play after highlight reel play, the Wizards ignited the crowd with some of their best plays from the entire season to make it 2-2 in the series. Here are just a few of them:

1. John Wall collects posters in the first half

The first one was perhaps the best. Everything was going wrong for the Wizards, poor turnovers, bad shots, a three from Toronto. Then John Wall had enough. Not only did he fly past his defender Kyle Lowry, but he went up and slammed one home past the 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. Up until that point, the Wizards were shooting 1-for-7.

Rinse and repeat, except this time Jakob Poeltl was Wall’s victim.

2. Wall to Beal alley-oop in transition

With the Wizards’ offense faltering, the Raptors remained on the verge of blowing the game open throughout the second quarter. But with a steal from Otto Porter Jr., Wall hung up the ball for Bradley Beal to slam home. The alley-oop kept the Wizards within single digits in the second with an uninspiring offensive effort.

3. Otto Porter breaks out of the half

A subdued offensive start to the game was due in part to the production from Porter. In the first half he went 0-for-4 with one point in nearly 17 minutes of action.

Throw that away in the second half. He broke out of halftime with back-to-back threes and 10 of the Wizards’ 26 in a monster 26-14 run to take the lead back in the third.

He finished the quarter with 10 points, an assist, and two blocks.

4. The Polish Hammer throwing it home

Are you convinced yet that Marcin Gortat’s new haircut is doing him some good? Gortat squeezed through two Raptors’ defenders, threw it down, gave a Goliath-type roar to the crowd before officially bringing the hammer down. 

5. Beal being called for his sixth foul of the game

Agree with the call or not, there is no denying that Beal’s removal from the game lit a fire underneath the Wizards. From that point Washington went on a 14-6 scoring run to end the game, closing out for the win.

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