Edgar Renteria was named the 2010 World Series Most Valuable Player after his three-run homer provided the winning margin for the Giants in their championship-clinching Game 5 victory against the Rangers.

Renteria’s blast off Cliff Lee in the seventh inning Monday night provided all the runs the Giants’ brilliant pitchers needed to close out the World Series four games to one.

Fittingly for a team fashioned largely without superstars, the Giants had no obvious MVP candidate until Renteria’s big swing Monday night. It seemed they had a different hero every night, with their pitchers leading the way for the most part.

But Renteria also played a starring role in San Francisco’s Game 2 win. His solo homer in the fifth opened the scoring in that game, and a two-run single in the eighth helped break open a tight game on the way to a 9-0 Giants rout.

Renteria’s show of clutch hitting in the World Series was remarkable given his lack of production all year. The veteran drove in three runs in two of the five World Series games after going the entire regular season without such a performance. In fact, his last game with more than two RBI came Aug. 30, 2009, when he drove in five runs against the Rockies.

He struggled to stay on the field all season, going on the disabled list three times, and played the postseason with a torn biceps tendon. Still, he was able to keep taking the field and played bigger in October and November than he had in years.

“It was a tough year for me,” Renteria said following the game, “but I told myself to keep working hard … because something is going to be good this year for you. … I feel proud for myself, I feel proud for my teammates.”

Renteria, 34, is widely expected to retire following this season – his 15th in the majors. It was all the way back in his second, as a 21-year-old in 1997, that Renteria provided the game-winning hit that gave the Marlins a World Series championship.