The San Francisco Giants made an amazing playoff run to the 2012 World Series title in a year when Miguel Cabrera had an amazing season.
The Giants swept Cabrera's Detroit Tigers in the World Series for their second title in three years.
San Francisco, which came from 0-2 down in the best-of-five Divisional Series, was down 1-3 in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series but won three straight to advance to the World Series.
There wasn't any such drama in the World Series, which was defined by shutouts by Giants' pitching in Games 2 and 3. Game 1 was marked by three home runs by San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who was voted Most Valuable Player of the series. Game 4 ended with a 10th-inning Marco Scutaro single that knocked in Ryan Theriot in a 4-3 win.
The series ended with a reliever Sergio Romo striking out Cabrera.
That was a very unfitting end of the season for Cabrera, who became the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1968 to win the Triple Crown, finishing with the highest batting average (.330) and most home runs (44) and runs batted in (139) in the American League.
The home run and RBI totals were major-league bests; the batting average was officially second only to the .336 average of San Francisco's Buster Posey.
The highest average, however, was by San Francisco Melky Cabrera, who was hitting .346 when he was suspended for 50 games due to a positive test for use of banned substances. Melky Cabrera asked to not be considered for the batting title because of the suspension. He could have come back for part of the playoffs but remained off the roster.
The season's best team record -- 98-64 -- was turned in by the surprising Washington Nationals, three years removed from back-to-back 100-loss records and now the National League East champions. The Cincinnati Reds won 97 games in taking the NL Central title and the Giants were 94-game winners in winning the West.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Houston Astros finished their final NL season -- they move to the American League for 2013 -- with 107 losses. The Chicago Cubs lost 101 games and still finished six games ahead of Houston in the NL Central. The Minnesota Twins lost 96 games, the highest total in the American League.
After a strong first half of the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates sagged and ended up with a 79-83 mark. It was their 20th consecutive losing season.
St. Louis defeated Atlanta in the first wild-card game in the National League as baseball expanded the playoffs from eight to 10 teams.
The New York Yankees, chased to the regular-season's final days by Baltimore, had the best record in the American League and won the East. Oakland did catch Texas on the final day and won the West with 94 wins while Detroit's 88-win season was best in the Central.
The Orioles defeated the Texas Rangers, victims of a late-season swoon, in the wild-card game but fell to the Yankees in the divisional playoffs. Detroit beat Oakland in five games to get to the championship series where the Tigers swept the Yankees.
For the first time there were three perfect games in a season. Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners on April 21 for the first. The Giants' Matt Cain was perfect against the Houston Astros on June 13 and Seattle's Felix Hernandez topped the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Aug. 15.
In addition Jared Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels, Johan Santana of the New York Mets and Cincinnati's Homer Bailey had no-hitters. Also Seattle's Kevin Millwood, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen combined for a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On May 8 Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers hit four home runs -- the 16th time in major-league history that feat was accomplished.
Arizona's Aaron Hill twice hit for the cycle in June, the first player to do that in the same calendar month since 1883.
A group that includes basketball's Earvin "Magic" Johnson and baseball executive Stan Kasten pooled resources and bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion. Frank McCourt had bought the team Dodgers Stadium and 250 acres of adjacent land -- mainly parking lots -- for $430 million in 2004.
The $2 billion price tag is well more than previous record paid for a sports franchise -- the Manchester United soccer team in England cost Malcolm Glazer $1.47 billion in 2005.
The major awards for the 2012 season, as determined in a vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America:
Most Valuable Player:
American League: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
National League: Buster Posey, San Francisco
Cy Young Award:
American League: David Price, Tampa Bay
National League: R.A. Dickey, New York Mets
Rookie of the Year:
American League: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
National League: Bryce Harper, Washington
Manager of the Year:
American League: Bob Melvin, Oakland
National League: Davey Johnson, Washington