Giants infielder duplicates feat at LSU with Series-winning run
Ryan Theriot’s son, Houston, said his dad looked “supersonic.” San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said the dugout felt something “good” was about to happen.
There’s just something about Ryan Theriot, a former Broadmoor High and LSU star, leading off an inning with a championship game on the line, and then standing on second base with a chance to win it all.
When Theriot scored from second base on Marco Scutaro’s two-out single to provide what proved to be the winning run in a 4-3, 10-inning, World Series-clinching victory Sunday night in Detroit, he had done this all before.
Theriot scored from second base on a Brad Cresse hit to left field with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Stanford 6-5 to win the College World Series in 2000.
“It was a single by Brad Cresse to left field,” Theriot told MLB.com. “I’ll never forget it.”
That time, he took his helmet off and flung it with all he had, with the run ending the game and touching off the celebration.
This time, with Detroit due up in the bottom of the inning, he let out a mighty bellow before racing to the dugout, where he was mobbed by teammates in an impromptu mosh pit.
“It was just a moment that you really couldn’t have written up much better,” San Francisco right fielder Hunter Pence told MLB.com. “When Theriot was on second, we were yelling in the dugout, ‘Theriot scored the game-winning run in the College World Series!’ And you had Scutaro up. We just had a good feeling about the moment.”
Theriot, an infielder, was a designated hitter Sunday night. He said it was the first time he had been asked to DH in his major league career, which spans eight seasons and four clubs, including last season with the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy talked about the decision to go with Theriot over Aubrey Huff, a veteran first baseman.
“I think he’s battled right-handers well this year, and he’s an experienced veteran that he finds a way to get the bat on the ball,” Bochy said. “And so decided to go with Ryan. I know who we’re facing is tougher on righties and lefties, but he’s handled righties better than lefties this year, Theriot, and I’m going with an experienced guy.”
Theriot came through for Bochy with his first and only hit of the World Series to lead off the 10th.
He moved to second base on Brandon Crawford’s sacrifice bunt. And Scutaro brought home Theriot after Angel Pagan’s strikeout.
“Well, you know, (Tigers reliever Phil) Coke’s really been throwing the ball good, you know, and I just kind of made up my mind there early that I was not going to let him get this breaking ball (by me),” Theriot said. “He’s got a great fastball.”
On Scutaro’s hit, Theriot easily whipped around the bases to beat a late, off-target throw as he slid across the plate.
Houston Theriot, who appeared with his dad and his mom, Johnnah, on the MLB Network’s MLB Tonight postgame show, said he screamed when his father got the hit.
“I knew we would win,” Houston Theriot told the MLB Network.
And Houston Theriot glowed about his dad’s speed coming home.
“Well, uh, he was sonic, yeah,” Houston Theriot said. “He’s like supersonic. He was, uh, how do I say it? Lightning sonic. He can eat thunder and crack lightning.”
Ryan Theriot said: “That’s right. He said it.”
Sunday, Theriot joined a select company.
According to an article by the Detroit Free Press, which quoted the Baseball Hall of Fame, Theriot is one of six players who have won a world championship with different teams.
The other five are pitcher Jack Morris (1991 Twins and ’92 Blue Jays), pitcher Don Gullett (’76 Reds and ’77 Yankees), first baseman Moose Skowron (’62 Yankees and ’63 Dodgers), pitcher Clem Labine (’59 Dodgers and ’60 Pirates) and outfielder Allie Clark (1947 Yankees and ’48 Indians).
“Crazy, huh?” Theriot told MLB.com. “It’s a blessing, man. Being on a championship team is really rare. To be on two is unreal.”
Although last season’s Cardinals were known as a scrappy team of destiny, rallying to beat the Texas Rangers, and in that regard share something in common with this season’s Giants, there are differences.
Last year’s St. Louis team was a stunning wild card, while this year’s San Francisco team was a division champion and perhaps an even scrappier bunch.
“On the field, polar opposite,” Theriot told the MLB Network. “You know, last year in St. Louis, we had a bunch of bangers, man. We had the big innings. We had guys hit homers.
“This year, it’s a little bit different — small ball, focused on the pitchers. The bullpen over here is unbelievable, starting pitching’s unbelievable. It’s a different type of baseball, same result, so it says a lot about the game.”
World Series history-making aside, being an LSU alum and Baton Rouge native, football is never that far removed from Theriot’s mind.
Asked on the postgame show if he’d be at Alabama-LSU game on Saturday in Tiger Stadium, Theriot quickly answered, “100 percent.”