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Giants and Ducks soar, while Tiger and Favre fall.
Former Rangers owner and ex-President George W. Bush may have thrown out the first pitch — with father and fellow ex-President George H.W. Bush standing nearby and Hall of Fame pitcher and current Rangers owner Nolan Ryan behind the plate — but it was 21-year-old Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner who wielded power during a 4–0 San Francisco victory in Texas.
The Giants took a commanding 3–1 World Series lead over the Rangers following a brilliant effort from Bumgarner and bearded-man Brian Wilson. The young rookie allowed three hits, walked two and stuck out six batters over eight innings, while the trendsetting Beach Boy namesake slammed the door with a scoreless two-strikeout ninth inning.
Halloween’s favorite team, San Francisco scared claw and antlers crazed Texas with a superb pitching effort from Bumgarner, who had better command of his stuff than any starter has during this year’s World Series.
“He was as good as I’ve seen him,” said San Fran catcher Buster Posey, who helped the Giants’ cause with solo home run. “He was in and out, really. The first couple of innings he might have yanked a couple of fastballs, but after that he was unreal.”
Now the stage is set for a Game 5 showdown between aces Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee at the Ballpark in Arlington on Monday night.
The Giants will attempt to clinch their first World Series title since moving to San Francisco in 1958, and the franchise’s first since Willie Mays went all over-the-shoulder in 1954. Meanwhile, the Rangers will desperately try to fight off elimination and move one step closer to becoming the first team to win it all after falling in a 3–1 hole since the Royals in 1985.
The revolving door at No. 1 continues. The latest in the Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Auburn lineage, the Oregon Ducks have flown to the top of the BCS standings following an impressive 53–32 win in USC’s self-proclaimed bowl game at the L.A. Coliseum.
Along with being No. 1 in both the human and computer polls, UO now boasts the top-ranked total offense (572.9 ypg), scoring offense (54.9 ppg) and turnover margin (plus-1.63) as a team, while Heisman hopeful running back LaMichael James leads the nation in total yards (189.6 ypg), rushing yards (172.9 ypg) and individual scoring (12.9 ppg).
While Oregon was busy taking over the top spot in all polls known to man, Tiger Woods fell from No. 1 for the first time since 2005. After 281 consecutive weeks at No. 1, Tiger has been tamed — by his own bad play and personal turmoil.
“I’m not ranked No. 1 in the world,” Tiger admitted while at a tournament in Japan. “In order to do that you have to win and I didn’t win this year.”
England’s Lee Westwood reached the pinnacle of the sport to become the first European since Nick Faldo was on top in 1994. Westwood joins Vijay Singh as the only players to overtake Woods since he originally took the throne at No. 1 way back in 1997.
Westwood’s stay may be brief, however, as he, Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer and Woods all have a shot to earn the No. 1 ranking with a strong showing at this week’s HSBC Champions tournament in Yokohama.
Down but not out, 41-year-old Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was knocked out following a chin-splitting hit from Patriots defensive tackle Myron Pryor during a 28–18 loss at New England.
Bloodied on the ground, helped off the field and carted to the locker room for stitches, the fate of Favre appeared to be in doubt. But as he’s done countless times, the graybeard gunslinger plans to fight through the injury and is confident he will be able to start next week when the Cardinals visit Minnesota.
“Nobody knows my body like me,” said Favre, who has started 292 consecutive games. “There were plenty of times I should’ve been knocked out and wasn’t. I should be ready to play next week.”