San Francisco batters outslugged the top hitting line-up on a night when pitchers were expected to excel for an 11-7 victory over Texas in the World Series opener.
Giants open account in World Series
San Francisco batters outslugged the top hitting line-up in Major League Baseball on a night when pitchers were expected to excel for an 11-7 victory over Texas in the World Series opener.
Juan Uribe smacked a home run and Freddy Sanchez went 4-for-5 with three doubles as host San Francisco took an early edge in the best-of-seven final between two championship-starved squads that continues tonight.
The Giants seek their first World Series title since 1954, four years before the club moved from New York. The Rangers seek the first World Series crown in their 50-season history after having not won a playoff series until this month.
"This gives us a lot of confidence," Sanchez said. "We didn't quit when they got up. It's going to be a tough battle this series."
Texas southpaw pitcher Cliff Lee, one victory shy of matching a record with his seventh triumphant playoff start in a row, instead suffered his first career post-season defeat, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
"You never think going in you are going to have success against a pitcher like that," Sanchez said. "I just tried to put the ball in play and fortunately was able to come out with some hits."
San Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner as best pitcher making his first playoff run, allowed four runs on eight hits but the long-haired hurler retired 13 of 14 batters in one stretch to earn the win.
"I didn't have my best stuff out there," Lincecum said. "I was battling myself a little. The guys gave me a chance to settle down and get into my mode for a few innings."
After Texas took a 2-0 lead, the Giants equalised in the third and Sanchez and Andres Torres hit back-to-back doubles to ignite a six-run fifth inning for an 8-2 edge. The Rangers never came nearer than the final margin after that.
"Jitters didn't have anything to do with it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They put 11 runs on the board. They beat us.
"Tomorrow can be a different day. Maybe we will end up scoring the runs."
The Giants pounded out 14 hits and were aided by four Texas errors while San Francisco surrendered 11 hits and committed two errors. It was the most combined miscues in a World Series game in 13 years.
"That's just baseball," Sanchez said. "You can have an amazing game and do great things and the next day you can't do anything right."
Texas boasted the top batting line-up in Major League Baseball with a .276 average but San Francisco countered with a pitching staff that led the majors with a 3.36 earned-run average.
"It helps us even more when we can win with our bats and take the pressure off our pitchers," Sanchez said.
The Giants broke a 2-2 deadlock in the fifth as Torres and Sanchez smacked back-to-back doubles. Sanchez's was his third in three tries and the last of five doubles surrendered by Lee.
Sanchez scored from second on a two-out single by Cody Ross and Pat Burrell, who had walked, scored from second on an Aubrey Huff single, prompting Texas to replace Lee with sidearm reliever Darren O'Day.
Dominican slugger Uribe then smashed the third offering from O'Day into the left-field stands for a three-run homer to stretch San Francisco's lead to 8-2.
Lincecum completed his impressive run with two strikeouts in the sixth but then walked Ian Kinsler and Bengie Molina, a catcher traded from the Giants to Texas at mid-season, doubled to left to score Kinsler.
The Rangers pulled within 8-4 on back-to-back singles by Mitch Moreland and David Murphy to end Lincecum's night but Santiago Casilla entered and struck out Elvis Andrus to end the threat.
Each team added three runs off relief pitchers in their final time at the plate but Giants closing relief ace Brian Wilson entered and obtained the final two outs to finish off the victory.
Lee, who had been unbeaten in playoff decisions, even got into the batting act with a shock double, the first extra-base hit by an American League pitcher in a World Series since 1997. Pitchers in AL games are replaced at the plate by designated hitters.