DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera stood at the plate and watched one last pitch sail by: strike three to end Detroit's season.
The Triple Crown winner had given the Tigers a glimmer of hope with a two-run homer in the third inning, but it wasn't enough. In this series, nothing Detroit did at the plate was enough.
"I think we never found our confidence," Cabrera said.
Cabrera struck out looking in the 10th inning Sunday night for the final out in the Tigers' 4-3 loss to San Francisco in Game 4 of the World Series. The Giants completed a four-game sweep for their second championship in three years, bringing a quiet end to Cabrera's marvelous season and Detroit's latest attempt to win its first title since 1984.
After being shut out in Games 2 and 3 and falling behind early in the finale, the Tigers at least mounted one last comeback. Cabrera's wind-blown, two-run drive put Detroit up 2-1 for its first lead of the series. When Buster Posey gave the Giants a 3-2 lead with a sixth-inning homer, Detroit tied it immediately in the bottom half on a solo shot by Delmon Young.
But that was it.
The Tigers wouldn't score again, and the vaunted middle of their batting order wasn't heard from. After a leadoff walk in the eighth, Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Young struck out in succession, and there was a sense that one more San Francisco run would win it.
Marco Scutaro delivered it, singling home the tiebreaking run in the 10th.
"It is unfortunate, but we played as hard as we could. Losing to the World Series champions isn't too bad," Fielder said. "We played good baseball, but they just beat us. We had a great season to get to the playoffs, and we played well to get to the World Series. You just don't get to write your own script."
On one pitch in the eighth Fielder ducked back from one of Jeremy Affeldt's breaking balls, only to have the ball drop over the plate.
"He was excellent. He was pretty nasty," Fielder said. "You have to tip your cap."
The final pitch of the game to Cabrera looked hittable — but Detroit looked out of synch offensively from the start in this series.
"I didn't think he was going to throw the fastball," Cabrera said quietly. "But he got me with it."
Between this year and 2006, the Tigers have now lost seven consecutive World Series games. That's one off the record of eight, set most recently by the Atlanta Braves in 1996 and 1999, according to STATS, LLC.
"If somebody told me in spring training that we would be in the World Series, I would have had to say I'll take that," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "It was kind of a weird way that we got there because we were a little inconsistent all year, then we played pretty well when we had to, to get the division, and we obviously played pretty good through the first two rounds of playoffs."