SAN FRANCISCO // The dominant October ace was missing for the Texas Rangers.
While Cliff Lee failed to locate his pitches effectively, there were also bobbles in the field and bumbling on the bases. It all added up to a dismal World Series debut for the Rangers, who lost the opener 11-7 to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.
"Jitters didn't have anything to do with it," Ron Washington, the Texas manager, said. "They put 11 runs on the board. They beat us."
Still, the Rangers did plenty to help the Giants. Texas became the first World Series team in six years to have four errors in a game, including two by Vladimir Guerrero in right field.
Ian Kinsler got tagged out when he took a turn past first base on a ball he thought rolled away but did not. And, worst of all for Texas, Lee was not himself. The left-hander lost a post-season game for the first time with his shortest outing while giving up his most runs.
"I was a little bit erratic and trying to find it, and just for whatever reason, I couldn't get consistent with locating pitches," Lee said. "I threw a ton of pitches, and threw a lot of balls. Threw a lot of pitches over the heart of the plate."
The Rangers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the match-up of former Cy Young Award winners, and Lee even contributed with his bat, doubling in the second off Tim Lincecum.
But Michael Young, the third baseman, let Edgar Renteria's leadoff grounder in the third kick off his glove for an error. Renteria scored on a double by Freddy Sanchez before Buster Posey's RBI single tied the game in a 32-pitch inning for Lee.
"We would have liked to play a cleaner game," Young said.
Lee, the midseason acquisition the Rangers got in the hope of winning games like this, retired the next six batters before everything fell apart. He was gone after a six-batter span in the fifth when five reached base. Juan Uribe then greeted submarine-style reliever Darren O'Day, knocking a 2-0 fastball into the left-field seats for a three-run homer that made it 8-2.
Guerrero, playing in the field rather than his usual designated hitter slot, misplayed two balls when San Francisco tacked on three runs in the eighth.
Texas had not made four errors in a game since July 2008.
"Usually, a team makes errors, you're going to find a way to score off them," Young said. "But we've been a great defensive team all season long, so this isn't really something we're going to lose sleep over."
* Associated Press