Reporting from San Francisco — The yearning pours forth from every storefront near the ballpark, from the streamers and balloons decorating the bars to the beauty shops inviting fans to come in and get their nails painted orange and black.
The Giants' colors, you know.
For San Franciscans, that elusive first World Series championship is in sight. After 53 years of waiting, the Giants' faithful might see a parade before they see another home game.
Matt Cain delivered sheer brilliance Thursday, getting all but four outs of a 9-0 victory over the Texas Rangers in Game 2 of the World Series. Edgar Renteria homered and drove in three runs, the Giants batted around for the second time in two nights, and Cain maintained his postseason earned-run average of 0.00.
The Giants are halfway to a title, halfway to a ring, halfway to the eternal gratitude of a patient city.
"This place has been hopping," former Giants All-Star Will Clark said in the Giants' clubhouse. "You should have seen Fisherman's Wharf at lunch. It was hopping too."
If the Giants win two more games, first baseman Aubrey Huff said, "There probably isn't one guy who couldn't live here the rest of his life and not get a free meal every night."
The Rangers had a losing road record this season. The World Series now moves to Texas, where the Rangers went 51-30.
The Giants scored 19 runs in the six-game National League Championship Series. They have scored 20 runs in the first two games of the World Series.
"That's definitely a welcome surprise," Huff said.
Cliff Lee notwithstanding, it is Cain who has produced a postseason performance for the ages. He has pitched 21 1/3 innings without giving up an earned run, the first pitcher in 37 years to do so in his first three postseason starts and the first to do so for a team not based in New York.
The other three: Jon Matlack of the Mets in 1973, Waite Hoyt of the Yankees in 1921, and Christy Mathewson of the Giants in 1905.
The final score offers no hint to the taut, tense evening that provided the backdrop for Cain's success. The Giants had not scored more than four runs in any of his previous six starts, and their lead was 2-0 when he left this one.
"From the time I've been here, we've always played a lot of close games," Cain said. "That's the way this ballpark usually turns. You get used to pitching in tight ballgames."
The home crowd was so appreciative that it rewarded Cain with a standing ovation before he batted in the seventh inning. He struck out, and he got another ovation.
None of the San Francisco relievers had even warmed up by then.
The Texas relievers made another mess of things. The Rangers used four pitchers in the eighth inning, when the Giants scored seven runs, all with two out. Derek Holland and Mark Lowe, neither of whom recorded an out, each walked home a run, combining for four walks in a row.
The Rangers have not used closer Neftali Feliz in the Series, but six other relievers have combined to give up 11 runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Texas starter C.J. Wilson more than kept the Rangers in the game. The Rangers could have taken the lead in the top of the fifth inning, but Ian Kinsler's drive hit the top of the center-field fence and somehow bounced back in play for a double.
Renteria, who had the World Series-winning hit for the 1997 Florida Marlins, homered in the bottom of the inning.
Juan Uribe singled home the Giants' second run in the seventh, two batters after Wilson had departed because of a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.
Texas Manager Ron Washington said Wilson would be available to pitch Game 6, should the Series return to San Francisco. To get back here, the Rangers have to climb a hill so steep they might need to hop a cable car.