In the words of Justin Verlander after Pablo Sandoval went yard on him for the second time of the night, “Wow.”
Just days after San Francisco completed their historic comeback to take the National League by storm, Barry Zito, Pablo Sandoval, and Marco Scutaro fueled the club to yet another momentous win, taking Game 1 of the World Series 8-3.
It would have been 8-1, had Angel Pagan not missed a catch on the warning track during the top of the 9th inning, where the ball just missed the sweet spot and instead caught the tip of his glove, sending it into the crowd for a two-run home-run, sentiments of Jhonny Peralta.
But that is really of no consequence.
Tonight, we saw a couple of important story-lines unfold. Coming in to this series, Detroit had been picked as the easy favorite. And why wouldn’t you bet on them? They have the reigning American League Cy Young award winner in Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder, and current triple crown recipient Miguel Cabrera.
None of that mattered in this game, however, as the Giants tamed the Tigers all night, and a lot of the credit must go to Barry Zito, who completely shut-down Detroit for 5.2 innings of one-run ball. His curve-balls were dazzling, and his off-speed fast balls left the Tigers scratching their heads.
This was just one piece of the feel-good puzzle. The Giants were aggressive, and completely demoralized Justin Verlander (4.0 innings pitched, gave up five earned runs off of six hits with four strikeouts and a walk), who looked helpless against San Francisco’s hitters, especially Pablo Sandoval, who hit two earth-shattering homers off the ace to become just the fourth player in baseball history to record three home-runs in a single World Series game. And the exclusive club he has just joined features some of the biggest names in baseball lore: Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols.
So Sandoval got things going quickly for the teams offense, but what’s even better about this, is they got to Verlander. They knocked him out after the 4th inning. Are you kidding? A guy that’s pegged as the best pitcher in baseball, an almost mythical type figure, comes into San Francisco, and get’s tossed around from the get-go, not even seeing the light of the 5th inning? You can’t make this stuff up.
The way the Giants played tonight absolutely encapsulated the teams drive to win.
- Barry Zito, who was left off the 2010 playoff roster, came in to start Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, and did what he’d been doing this whole season to get his 9th consecutive win, and the team’s 14th behind him.
- You had Marco Scutaro adding on to his mind-blowing short career as a Giant, adding hit number eleven to his current streak, while driving in two and scoring two runs himself.
- Tim Lincecum again came out in relief, and did his freakish thing. He held Detroit to 0 runs, gave up 0 hits, and had five see-you-later strikeouts.
- Buster Posey and Angel Pagan looked like they’ve started to get things going to end their cold-streaks, combining for four hits, two runs, and an RBI.
- Gregor Blanco, though he was 0-for-4, made not only one, but two extremely impressive diving plays to keep the Giants on-top, barring Detroit from scoring and giving Zito extra confidence on the mound.
It was just a feel-good night. From the 1st inning when Zito recorded his first out, until the ground-out to Brandon Crawford that ended the game, AT&T park was rocking. I mean it was live energy like no one has seen since 2010.
To set the tone of a World Series the way the Giants have, is more than impressive. It’s momentous. Monumental. Winning Game 1 gives this club even more of an edge and confidence, and for opposing teams, that is not a good thing, because San Francisco does not go down. You push them up against a wall, and they come back at you with the wrath of a thousand John McGraws.
And when you’ve out-scored your opponents 28-4 in the last four games, I think that shows what this club is capable of.
Game 2 of the World Series starts at 5:07PM on Thursday, and will feature Doug Fister (0-0 with a 1.35 ERA) against Madison Bumgarner (0-2 with an 11.25 ERA), who is looking for a bounce-back outing after his last two disappointing starts.
Giants fans, stand proud. We are three wins away from another World Series title, and I’ve got a sneaking feeling this team is going all the way.