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Another clutch Uribe homer nails down win

Another clutch Uribe homer nails down win

SAN FRANCISCO -- All season long, Juan Uribe has been at his best while at the plate in a late-inning situation in which he can change the game's outcome with one swing.

Time and time again, the Giants' infielder has delivered, knocking out countless clutch home runs to either put his team ahead or tie the game. On Wednesday night at AT&T Park, in Game 1 of the World Series and in front of thousands of San Francisco fans who have waited 50-plus seasons to waive a championship banner, Uribe once again delivered.

Uribe's fifth-inning three-run homer didn't tie the game or give the Giants the lead, as 12 of his 26 regular-season and postseason home runs did.

Instead, the 2-0 fastball from Rangers reliever Darren O'Day that Uribe sent into the left-center-field stands was the back-breaker for the Rangers, as the Giants took a six-run lead and held on for an 11-7 win and one-game advantage over the Rangers in the best-of-seven World Series.

"He's a special person," Giants outfielder Cody Ross said. "He's coming up with some of the biggest hits I've ever seen. He goes up there every time and puts together quality at-bats. He came up with a huge home run right there."


Unlike his other impact homers this season, Uribe dug into the batter's box on Wednesday with the game well in San Francisco's grasp. The Giants had already done the unthinkable by knocking out Rangers ace Cliff Lee.

Lee entered the game with an unblemished career record in October (7-0) and amidst a dominant 2010 postseason in which he had allowed only two runs in 34 innings. But somehow, some way, the Giants got to Lee, following a two-run third inning with an explosive fifth in which five of seven hitters reached against Lee, who was knocked out after allowing back-to-back run-scoring singles.

O'Day entered the game, threw two sliders outside the strike zone, then grooved an 86-mph inside fastball to Uribe, who turned on it to give the Giants an 8-2 lead.

"Take a pitch at a time and look for that fastball and approach it," Uribe said through a translator of his approach during the at-bat. "Take one pitch at a time and know the ball's in the strike zone, get ready to connect."

If there's one thing Uribe's known for -- other than his clutch homers and home run celebration, which consists of him instantly raising his hands in the air and shaking his fingers after he connects -- it's his approach at the plate. That approach is "a nice, good, hard swing," according to Giants closer Brian Wilson. "He's not going to go back to the bench without getting his hacks in."

Many of Uribe's swings might not be pretty, but, as he once again showed on Wednesday, they sure do produce results.

"He's had a lot of tying and go-ahead homers this year, a lot of big homers," Wilson said. "That wasn't to go-ahead or tie, but it certainly was detrimental to their pitching staff."

Uribe's Game 1 homer followed his game-winning sacrifice fly in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series and tie-breaking and series-clinching homer in Game 6, as well as his countless other homers during the season that got the Giants to this position.

In another big situation, this time on an even bigger stage, Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff said Uribe delivered just as his teammates expected.

"It's almost like you can call it. That's how many times he's done it," Huff said. "It seems like he always gets the big homers, especially late, and he's just a clutch, clutch home run hitter. I don't think I've ever seen a guy do it as much as he as all year consistently."

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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