By: Malaika Bobino
San Francisco, CA – The quest was just a win. No one thought history would be in the making yet the Giants never disappoint. Two Cy Young Award winners took the mound to do the inevitable, they handed Justin Verlander his first loss to start a postseason series.
San Francisco took game one of the World Series with a 8-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers. For the third time in four years, game one featured Cy Young Award winners facing off. It marked the ninth time overall in World Series history that previous Cy Young Award recipients have started against each other in the Fall Classic.
“I battled in the September to make the postseason roster last year,” Barry Zito said. “The last thing I would’ve expected at this point was to start game 1. The opportunity was magical and to be starting against Verlander and give our team a chance to go up 1-0. The fact that we won is just kind of surreal.”
The pitching was great for the Giants but the one man who deserved a standing ovation for the night was Pablo Sandoval. He’s now apart of an elite class of men in baseball, who play the game at their highest level. Sandoval made postseason history when he blasted three home runs to join Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols.
“Man, I still can’t believe it,” Pablo said. “When your a little kid, you dream about being in the World Series, but I was thinking of being in this situation, three homers in one game. You have to keep focus and play your game. You don’t have to be too excited, the series is not over.”
One person who completely lost his focus was Justin. Sandoval struck his first two homers off Verlander who yielded five runs and six hits for a shocking ordinary night on the mound. In fact, he lasted only four innings before the bullpen took over. The most memorable thing for the ace pitcher on the mound was him mouthing “wow” after Pablo’s second two-run home run.
“Extremely impressive,” said Justin. “I wish I hadn’t contributed. Is it disappointing? Yeah. Would you like to have won game 1? Absolutely. It’s not the end of the world by any means. I think we feel confident everyday, there’s nobody hanging their heads.”
The Tigers tried to rallied back in the ninth inning when Johnny Peralta homered on a fly ball to score Delmon Young. But San Francisco’s bullpen was too strong and ended any hope of catching their lead. Tim Lincecum who came out of the bullpen was probably his best in the postseason. The two-time Cy Young winner looked like his old self when he struck out seven straight batters.
“The way Zito was focused today was not worrying about what Verlander was doing and that’s what you got to do,” Lincecum said. “I felt good as I always have coming out of the bullpen. All I was trying to do was get outs, that’s it.”
The Giants amazing start began with Sandoval’s solo blast in the first frame. NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro contributed two RBI singles, Zito and Buster Posey also scored in runs. The offense was at their best in every way including Angel Pagan’s two game doubles that sparked the third scoring spree.
With two outs in the inning, San Francisco got a huge break when Pagan’s ground ball toward left field hit the third base bag and picked up more speed down the line for a double. The Giants rallied behind that hit with both Scutaro (who extended his postseason streak to 11 games) and Pablo making huge plays.
“Big time in getting the first win, especially when you face a guy like Justin Verlander, you have to bring your “A” game,” said Pagan. “He had good stuff today but we put out some good at-bats. I was just trying to start a rally with two outs and try to get to second base.”
“I think you can sum it up, when you use five pitchers in a game that Justin Verlander starts, that’s not good tonic,” Detroit’s manager Jim Leyland said.