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Originally published October 28, 2012 at 9:55 PM | Page modified October 28, 2012 at 10:32 PM

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World Series-winning Giants do it all smarter, better

Their payroll is $117 million, and $71 million of that went to the pitching staff, which allowed only six runs in the four-game World Series sweep. The franchise is a model of smart financing.

Times staff columnist

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$117 million is not a "modest" payroll for 2012. The Mariners and Giants... MORE
Pitching wins World Series and that's why I don't think they traded Doug Fister away... MORE
Their payroll is a modest $117 million, and $71 million of that went to the pitching... MORE

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DETROIT — Marco Scutaro (really who else could it have been?) floated a single into center field, scoring Ryan Theriot with the World Series-winning run in the top of the 10th inning Sunday.

It was a typical Giants rally. Baseball the way it's supposed to be played.

Theriot singled. Brandon Crawford expertly bunted him to second and, after Angel Pagan struck out, Scutaro served a single into the late-night drizzle.

The San Francisco Giants won this fourth-and-final World Series game and for the second time in three years, the Giants — not the Yankees or Angels or Phillies or Dodgers or any of baseball's free-spending franchises — are world champions.

Their payroll is a modest $117 million, and $71 million of that went to the pitching staff, which allowed only six runs in this four-game sweep. This franchise is a model of smart financing.

The Giants with their resilience, their smart trade-deadline pickups, their wondrous starting pitching, opportunistic hitting and lockdown defense, have won another title.

This is a team America should embrace. The Giants were down 0-2 in the best-of-five NLDS and won three in a row in Cincinnati. They were down 3-1 to St. Louis and still won the NLCS in seven.

The Giants are the roly-poly third baseman nicknamed The Panda. Pablo Sandoval, the World Series MVP, hit three home runs in Game 1 of this Series, setting the tone for this sweep.

The Giants are second baseman Scutaro's line drives, right fielder Hunter Pence's wild eyes and crazy dugout rally speeches and closer Sergio Romo's contagious happiness.

The Giants aren't simply happy to be here. They play as if they expect to be here. But they are the happiest club in baseball. They led the league in smiles this season. No team has ever giggled its way to a World Series title. The Giants did it this year.

They lost their free-spirited closer, Brian Wilson, in April. They still won the World Series. And the bearded Wilson, a 21st Century hippie, turned into the best cheerleader in the game.

In mid-August, they lost the league's leading hitter and All-Star Game MVP, Melky Cabrera, a fan favorite, to a drug suspension. They looked as if they were done. Instead, they got better.

The Giants' organization is just smarter than most. While high-priced big names like Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett were going to the Dodgers at the trade deadline, the Giants picked up Pence from the Phillies and Scutaro from Colorado and outkicked Los Angeles into October.

The Giants make you feel good, just listening to their stories.

Romo cried when he signed his last contract, grateful for the opportunity baseball had given him. Buster Posey recovered from a terrible collision at the plate in 2011 to have an MVP-caliber season.

Thirty-five-year-old Ryan Vogelsong spent a decade trying to find his place in the game, even spending a couple of seasons in Japan, before coming to San Francisco and becoming an all-star. He was practically unhittable this month.

Former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum struggled with his mechanics and his confidence for most of this year, but found himself in a new role in October, coming out of the bullpen.

Scutaro got twisted in a mad-dog slide by Matt Holliday in the second game of the NLCS. He should have been done for the season. Instead, he retaliated with line drives, hitting .500, becoming that series' MVP.

At the beginning of this century, it was hard to love the Giants. Barry Bonds, with his inflated body and drug-enhanced numbers, was the unshakable image of that team.

But this team makes you believe in the goodness of the game. It's theme song should be Ode to Joy.

In the bottom of the 10th, effervescent Romo danced his sliders around the Tigers' bats, striking out Austin Jackson, Don Kelly and Miguel Cabrera. Romo screamed, jumped up and down, swung his arms from side to side and waited for his teammates to mob him on the mound.

The Giants are world champions again. You gotta love these guys.

Steve Kelley: 206-464-2176 or skelley@seattletimes.com

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