Rookie closer Feliz saves Texas' 1st Series win - KMOV.com

Rookie closer Feliz saves Texas' 1st Series win

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San Francisco Giants' Andres Torres hits a solo home run during the eighth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Texas Rangers Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) By Eric Gay San Francisco Giants' Andres Torres hits a solo home run during the eighth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the Texas Rangers Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) By Eric Gay
Texas Rangers' Jeff Francoeur can't come up with a ball hit by San Francisco Giants' Andres Torres during the eighth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) By Matt Slocum Texas Rangers' Jeff Francoeur can't come up with a ball hit by San Francisco Giants' Andres Torres during the eighth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) By Matt Slocum
Texas Rangers' Neftali Feliz throws during the ninth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) By Matt Slocum Texas Rangers' Neftali Feliz throws during the ninth inning of Game 3 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) By Matt Slocum

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Texas closer Neftali Feliz saved more games this season than any rookie in baseball history. Now he's got another claim to fame: having saved the first World Series victory in franchise history.

Feliz retired the San Francisco Giants in order in the top of the ninth in Game 3 on Saturday night to protect a 4-2 victory. Using his usual array of pitches -- fast, faster and fastest -- Feliz needed only 13 pitches to put an emphatic finish on a victory that gets the Rangers back into the Series, now trailing only 2-1.

"I was very grateful to have the chance to close the first World Series victory," he said through a translator.

The 22-year-old Feliz also bumped his boss Nolan Ryan down a peg in the World Series record book. Feliz became the second-youngest pitcher ever to save a Series game, dropping Ryan to third. The youngest was Bob Welch of the Dodgers at 21 in 1978.

Oddly enough, the Rangers had only one save all postseason, and it was by 40-year-old Darren Oliver.

Feliz had pitched in five of Texas' previous 13 postseason games, but none was a save situation. He had seven strikeouts in 4 1-3 innings, allowing two hits and one run, a homer. He had yet to get into a Series game.

He entered at the start of the ninth and struck out Pat Burrell swinging. Cody Ross flied out to right field, then Juan Uribe swung and missed to end it. Cameras flashed throughout Uribe's at-bat as a crowd of 52,419 -- biggest ever at Rangers Ballpark -- wanted to capture the memorable final out.

"He had great stuff," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I mean, he hadn't pitched in a while, and he had good command, too. It was an impressive outing for him. You've got a guy out there throwing 98, 99 with command, the kid did a great job. He's had a great year, and we know how good his stuff is, and he showed it tonight."

Feliz threw 10 strikes and three balls.

"I was mentally ready," Feliz said. "I was trying to keep all my pitches low. That's what I did and I did my job."

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IS THERE A K IN BURRELL? Giants manager Bruce Bochy is going to think about whether he should get Pat Burrell out of the lineup.

Burrell struck out in all four at-bats in Game 3, giving him eight strikeouts in nine at-bats in the World Series and 19 in 38 at-bats this postseason.

He ended the first inning by striking out with two runners on base. His final K came leading off the ninth.

"His timing is off probably a little bit, which happens," Bochy said. "He's a big reason why we're here, with the huge hits he's gotten. Sure, you hope he comes out of it, and it was a tough night for him. But he can handle it. The one thing about Pat, sometimes he doesn't get a big hit, but he's getting big walks, things like that, to find a way to get on base."

Burrell said he's getting good pitches to hit, but he's also chased some bad ones. He's hoping to redeem himself, but he also understands this isn't mid-July. It's the World Series and a manager may not be able to let him play his way out of a slump.

"I'd be disappointed of course; you want to play," he said. "Could I blame him? Probably not."

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TEXAS HEAT: Nolan Ryan got the Texas Rangers' first World Series home game off to a blazin' start.

The Ryan Express threw out the ceremonial first pitch to another former Rangers star, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. It was a great moment for a crowd bursting with pride -- even if the pitch bounced into the mitt.

Maybe Pudge called for a breaking ball. The ball hit the dirt behind the plate to Rodriguez's right; had there been a left-handed hitter, he probably would have danced out of the way.

Or maybe it was the way Ryan was dressed -- in black slacks, a white long sleeve shirt and a Rangers-red tie.

Rodriguez came up with the Rangers back when Ryan was still pitching. He was a star on Texas' three division champion teams in the 1990s, named AL MVP in 1999. He returned late last season, then played for the Washington Nationals this year.

"When they won the American League, I was at home watching it and I got goose bumps," Rodriguez said. "My eyes got wet to see that because I feel like I am a part of it. I was here for such a long time, so any success this team has I'm happy for that."

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REMEMBERING THE '62 SERIES: Felipe Alou still thinks about that missed bunt in the ninth inning in Game 7 of the 1962 World Series, which his Giants lost to the New York Yankees.

Had he laid the bunt down, it would have moved his brother Matty from first to second. The Giants lost the game 1-0. It ended when Willie McCovey lined out to second baseman Bobby Richardson with runners on second and third.

"You've got to be ready to bunt in the World Series. I was not ready," the 75-year-old Alou said Saturday, sitting in the dugout before Game 3 of the World Series. "I drove in 98 runs that year. When I saw the bunt sign, I had my doubts. That's what this team is all about. (Bruce) Bochy has them ready to do whatever, and they respond to it."

Alou, a former right fielder and three-time All-Star as a player, is proud of the fact some of these current Giants are guys he used to manage.

"Yeah, it's pride," Alou said.

Bochy came aboard for the 2007 campaign after Alou's fourth season as skipper. Alou now serves as a special assistant to general manager Brian Sabean.

While he couldn't win it all for a city that is still waiting for its first World Series title since moving West in 1958, Alou would be thrilled to see it finally happen.

"For this group of players to be the first group of players to win in San Francisco is really something," he said. "When we went to spring training, people talked about winning the World Series. The team we had in '62, that was some kind of team."

Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal, also on hand at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to cheer on his former club, would be equally as thrilled to see these Giants come through.

"They remind me of '62. But we went all the way and couldn't do it," Marichal said.

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NO-HIT HUNTER: Since Tommy Hunter's scheduled start for Texas in the World Series comes in Rangers Ballpark in Game 4 on Sunday night, he won't get the chance to hit like Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson did the first two games in San Francisco.

Asked Saturday if he was disappointed, Hunter starting laughing.

"It would have been fun, but I mean, I'm probably not a very good hitter," Hunter said. "I'll just throw that out. I'm probably not very good at all. Hand-eye coordination is probably off since high school."

Lee went 1 for 2 with a double. Wilson went 0 for 1 with a sacrifice bunt.

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AP Baseball Writers Janie McCauley and Ben Walker, and AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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