Pablo Sandoval became only the fourth player to hit three home runs in a World Series game as the San Francisco Giants opened the best-of-seven series with an 8-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park.
Venezuela's Sandoval smacked a solo shot in the first inning, a two-run blast in the third and another solo homer in the fifth to become just the fourth player to hit three home runs in one game of Major League Baseball's best-of-seven championship showcase.
The feat put him in elite company alongside Babe Ruth — who did it twice — Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols.
Of the group, Sandoval is the only one to homer in his first three at-bats of the game.
"When you're a little kid you dream of playing in the World Series," Sandoval said after the match. "And my dream has come true.
"We played two days ago our last game. We had a day off yesterday and we came here still hot."
Sandoval's first two homers came off Detroit's vaunted ace Justin Verlander, who made it through just four innings and 98 pitches, giving up five runs on six hits.
Verlander came into the contest with a 3-0 record and an 0.74 ERA, having struck out 25 batters while allowing only 10 hits over 24 1/3 playoff innings.
But the Giants wasted no time in pouncing on Verlander, whose team hadn't played since completing a sweep of the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series a week ago.
The Giants came into the contest battle-hardened, having just won their third game in a row on Monday to complete an improbable comeback over St. Louis in the National League Championship Series.
They are trying to claim their second title in three years, after winning it all in 2010.
Sandoval's two-out solo homer to centre field in the first inning proved to be a sign of things to come.
In his next at-bat, he belted a two-run homer as part of a three-run third inning for the Giants.
Angel Pagan came to the plate with two out and reached second base on a liner that was headed straight to Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera but instead hit the bag and caromed away from him.
Marco Scutaro, the Most Valuable Player of the Giants' series victory over the Cardinals, then laced a single up the middle that scored Pagan and brought Sandoval to the plate.
After Verlander issued two balls to Sandoval Jim Leyland, the Tigers manager, headed to the mound for a chat. He opted to leave his ace in and Sandoval promptly sent the next pitch he saw over the wall to make it 4-0 for San Francisco.
The Giants added another run in the fourth when pitcher Barry Zito's single to left field scored Brandon Belt, and took a 6-0 lead in the sixth when Sandoval went deep again against Tigers reliever Al Albuquerque.
The Tigers got a run on the board in the sixth, but after San Francisco responded with two runs in the seventh, even Jhonny Peralta's two-run homer with one out for the Tigers in the ninth was just a dent in the deficit.
Leyland accepted afterwards there was little his team could have done to keep Sandoval at bay.
"He just had one of those nights where everything we threw, he hit," Leyland said. "We have to tip our hats to him. It was unbelievable."
The Giants host game two tonight (Thursday).
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