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The Texas Rangers' fairytale postseason has come to an end.
Everything that carried the Rangers into their first World Series in franchise history fizzled against the San Francisco Giants.
The best pitcher. The big bats. Nothing seemed to work when it mattered most.
Ace left-hander Cliff Lee lost again, and the Rangers' bats remained silent in a 3-1 loss in Game 5 on Monday night that gave the title to the Giants.
"The guys are a little down," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "They beat us soundly. They played better baseball than we did."
Lee, the prized midseason acquisition Texas got to win games like this, was definitely better than in the Series opener, when he had his worst postseason outing ever. Still, it wasn't good enough to beat Tim Lincecum.
"You've got to tip your cap to Lincecum. He pitched an unbelievable game. They outpitched us the whole series," Lee said. "Their pitching did an unbelievable job."
But no matter how well the free agent-to-be might have pitched in maybe his last start for Texas, Lee got no help from a potent lineup that went from slugging to slumping.
"Against this lineup, that's highly impressive what they (Giants) did with the ball," Lee said. "A lot of credit goes to their pitching and defense. It was outstanding, and they flat-out beat us."
Texas had gone 18 innings -- the equivalent of two full games -- without scoring until Nelson Cruz homered in the seventh against Lincecum. That was after Lee, who struck out six and walked none in seven innings, had thrown his last pitch.
Edgar Renteria, the Giants' No. 8 hitter and World Series MVP, hit a three-run homer in the seventh.
"To give up that home run -- I'm very disappointed about that, but, you know, that's the way the game goes sometimes," Lee said. "You got to give those guys credit. They were a better team this series."
The Rangers were shut out twice by San Francisco. The last team held scoreless twice in a World Series was the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers, who failed to score in the last three games while being swept by Baltimore.
Texas, which led the majors with a .276 batting average in the regular season, hit a meager .190 with only 12 runs in the World Series.
"Obviously, we have a great offense, so we feel like we should score no matter what," said Michael Young, the team's career hits leader and longest-tenured player in his 10th season. "They threw really well, they deserve credit for that, they won the World Series -- but as a competitor, you always want to put it on yourself. You always want to say, it doesn't matter who's out there, you've got to find a way to score runs. We just didn't get it done."
Josh Hamilton, who led the majors with a .359 average in the regular season, went two for 20 in the World Series. The big bats of Young, Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz were a combined 12 for 74 (.162).
"Sometimes you feel good and you just don't get hits," Hamilton said. "You hate for it to happen in the World Series, but it did."
Bengie Molina spent 3 1/2 seasons in San Francisco, helping to mentor Lincecum and the other Giants pitchers before being traded July 1 to the Rangers. As good as the Giants' pitchers are, even he was caught off guard by how much they dominated the Texas hitters.
"Very surprised, very amazed," said Molina, who can still take home a championship ring. "It's very simple. They hit, they pitched, they won."
Put it this way: The Rangers had 29 hits in the series. San Francisco scored 29 runs.
"I didn't know they can pitch that well," Washington said. "It was as good as advertised."
Lee was 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in eight career postseason starts going into this World Series. He had won Games 1 and 5 last year for Philadelphia against the New York Yankees, who won the other four games for their 27th championship.
This time, he lost Games 1 and 5 of the first World Series in the 50-season history of the Rangers franchise.
Now, Texas is unsure if Lee will be back for No. 51.
The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner will be one of the most sought-after free agents this winter, and the Rangers obviously want to keep him. They beat the Yankees in the playoffs, but it could be costly to top them again in free agency.
"I like this team. This is a very fun team to play on. It was a very talented group of guys. I expect this team to do some really good things next year," Lee said. "I don't know if I'm going to be a part of it or not. I would love to be. But there are so many things that can happen."
Before his disappointing World Series, Lee pitched a complete game in the AL division series clincher against Tampa Bay after winning the opener of that series for Texas. In his only start against the Yankees in the AL championship series, he struck out 13 and allowed only two hits over eight innings.
The Rangers' best hitter in the Series was Mitch Moreland, the rookie first baseman who batted ninth and didn't even join the team until July 27. He went 6 for 13 (.462) and his three-run homer was the big hit for Texas in its only victory, 4-2 in Game 3.
Before Lincecum struck out 10 while allowing three hits in eight innings Monday night, the Rangers managed only three singles in eight innings the night before against rookie left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
"There were three games that they just dominated. The pitcher came out and did their job and kept us off balance pretty much the whole game," Moreland said. "We just couldn't get anything going. That's kind of the story for us."
The Rangers reached their first World Series in the franchise's history. Outfielder David Murphy said he hopes the team can use this season's experience to win their first Series.
"Just the experience is huge," he said. "You know, a lot of guys don't get this chance. I mean, how many guys -- you know, Vladimir Guerrero, Darren Oliver -- these guys have been around game a long time, and this is their first opportunity, so for so many young guys to experience this early in their career is a great thing."
Young agreed, saying that while the loss is a "bitter pill to swallow," there will be great memories of this year's team.
"I think the most exciting part is that we set the bar high now," he said. "There's a completely different level of expectation for this team, for this organization. That's what we all want to be a part of."