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Veteran Renteria produces spark for Giants

Veteran Renteria produces spark for Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Edgar Renteria is going to decide after the postseason if this is his last season in the Majors.

If, indeed, 2010 is Renteria's career finale, the Giants shortstop is doing everything he can to go out the same way he came in -- as a winner.

Renteria seamlessly stepped into the leadoff spot Tuesday, going 1-for-4 and sparking a two-run fourth inning, as San Francisco beat Philadelphia, 3-0, Tuesday at AT&T Park to take a 2-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.

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"Edgar's done that, he's been there for a long, long time in the big leagues," Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff said. "He knows how to go about at-bats and the guy's not going to panic. He's had one of the biggest hits in World Series history so there's going to be no bigger situation he's going to see than that, so he looks relaxed up there and plays the game right. Hopefully he can stay healthy for us."


Huff's last point is the key reason why the 2010 season has been such a difficult one for Renteria. This has been one of Renteria's least productive years in his 15-year career due to various injuries. The 34-year-old spent three stints on the disabled list due to hamstring, groin and biceps issues. Plus, after playing in only 72 regular-season games -- the only time in his career he's played in fewer than 100 -- Renteria is currently playing with a completely torn left biceps.

After partially tearing the biceps in mid-August, Renteria said he completely tore it while swinging a bat in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Strangely, Renteria said he's in less pain since the tear, and with him available Tuesday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was able to bat Renteria leadoff in place of the struggling Andres Torres.

While Torres, no doubt the spark plug of the Giants' 2010 offense -- had been unable to set the table for Giants hitters in the postseason, Renteria was finally able to kick-start the offense with his fourth-inning single.

Aside from Renteria, fellow veteran Aaron Rowand also knocked out a leadoff double and eventually scored in the fifth inning, making Bochy's lineup changes look genius.

"You feel good for them. I mean, they're pros, and they've done a great job of setting aside their ego," Bochy said of the two. "Edgar got us going, because at that time we're getting no hitting and [he] got the big base hit to get the rally going there for us.

"So I feel good for them and they've been a big part of this. To get them out there and win the game and have them contribute the way they did, I feel good for them."

Although Renteria's teammates and coaches are mindful how much Tuesday's performance must mean to him given what he's gone through this season, Renteria said he's only worried about the Giants continuing in the playoffs.

"I always think about trying to win the game," Renteria said. "It's not about me. I try to think about the game and the team and what I can do to win the game."

That type of attitude is just one of many reasons why Renteria's teammates are fond of him.

Of course, they all know about this game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, but they weren't around to see that firsthand. Years later, teammates such as closer Brian Wilson said he understands how Renteria can step up in such key situations.

"He's been here before. He knows what to do and he's the most professional guy I've been around, that's a fact," Wilson said. "How he carries himself, the way he can contribute to others with a little bit of info on the game of baseball and his contributions, he's come up big this year."

Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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