Who would’ve imagined that the Giants would rough up Justin Verlander. This wasn’t the plan for the Tigers Wednesday night. They didn’t expect Verlander to allow five runs which is something he did just three times during the regular season. They also didn’t foresee him logging just four innings.
But let me remind you, this is the World Series and seemingly any feat is possible at this point, escepially for San Francisco, who seem armed to combat any situation thrown at them. Sandoval stayed true to those words with three home runs, joining a list of three players to hit three homers in a game during a single World Series round. With four RBIs as well, Sandoval drove in half of the Giants’ runs, as the Giants took Game 1 by a final tally of 8-3. Rapidly, the “Panda” is approaching Cody Ross territory. In 2010, Ross hit five home runs in the postseason, and this year, Sandoval has smashed six. So, technically, he’s already there.
Verlander came into his start with the words of un-hittable mentioned with his name. While that might seem a bit bold, it’s not far from the truth. In 24.1 innings entering Game 1, he had only allowed two runs and two home runs, holding opposing hitters to just a .122 average. On Wednesday, Sandoval doubled Verlander’s home run output and drove his overall postseason ERA up to 2.22, which checked in at 1.08 before the game.
Very, and I mean very few players can turn a 95 MPH fastball around. Sandoval reminded the baseball world that it is indeed possibly. On an 0-2 count in the first inning, which alone, is an extremely vulnerable positon to be in against Verlander given his nasty off-speed arsenal, he crushed a solo home run. In the third inning, after Marco Scutaro collected his first RBI of the World Series on a single, Sandoval peppered the left field bleachers this time with a two-run blast. Again, he did it of a 95 MPH heater. Sandoval’s shot made the score 4-0, and the Giants were far from finished.
Barry Zito drove in a run off Verlander in the fourth inning. Yes, off Verlander. Not only did Zito’s hit put the Giants on top 5-0, but it also made history. With his RBI, the Giants became the first team in history to have an RBI from their pitchers in four straight games.
Zito’s looper down the left field line didn’t come close to Sandoval’s 435 foot blast, marking his third and final home run of the game as the Giants started to put their final touches on a win.
And who would’ve began to think that Zito would turn in the line that Verlander was supposed to submit. Granted, his 5.2 innings in which he allowed only one run didn’t come close to his performance in Game 5 of the NLCS, but he turned in another solid outing which is all that Bruce Bochy could’ve asked for.
Angel Pagan and Buster Posey both collected RBIs in the seventh inning on singles, joining the party at the thunderous AT&T Park.