In the world of baseball today, it seems like it would be foolish to predict so much as a loss to Justin Verlander, who won the AL Cy Young and MVP last season. However, last night, not only did the Giants deliver a loss, but they handed Verlander, who was 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA in the postseason, a rout. The Giants were on him all night, starting in the very first inning when Pablo Sandoval swatted a 0-2 fastball over the wall in center for a solo home run to put the Giants out on top, 1-0.
Both Verlander and Barry Zito, starting Game One after a marvelous start to the postseason at 1-0 with a 1.78 ERA, settled into their grooves in the second inning. However, the Giants were right back at it in the third, starting on a two out rally that shouldn’t even have happened. It started on a high hopper to third by Angel Pagan, but the ball flicked off the base and ricocheted into left field for a two out double. Marco Scutaro was up next and promptly drove a line drive single to center for some damage before the big bomb came on Pablo Sandoval’s opposite field home run, his second of the game.
That put it at 4-0 against the best pitcher in the American League, but the Giants were far from done. Brandon Belt walked to lead off the fourth, and after being advanced to second, eventually scored on a single to left by pitcher Barry Zito. In the fifth, they were at it again with Pablo Sandoval driving his third home run of the day, crushing a low breaking ball to center to make it 6-0.
This was around the time that the Tigers finally got anything going off Barry Zito, starting on a leadoff double by Austin Jackson in the sixth. Omar Infante flew out to center, advancing Jackson to third in preparation for a Miguel Cabrera single to score him and cut it to 6-1. Zito got two more batters in the inning, but eventually left in favor of Tim Lincecum, the Giants’ former ace who threw for 2.1 perfect innings while striking out 5.
Not only was Lincecum dominant, but the Giants put together a rally of their own to make up for those Tigers runs. A one out double by Angel Pagan started a seventh inning rally off right. Three consecutive singles by Marco Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval, and Buster Posey resulted in a pair of runs and thus, an 8-1 lead.
A collection of Giants’ relievers tried to close it out, with Jose Mijares facing a batter effectively, George Kontos facing four not so effectively– Jhonny Peralta knocking in two runs with a home run to cut it to 8-3– and Jeremy Affeldt getting the last out of the game in typical fashion. Tonight’s game will feature Doug Fister (0-0, 1.35) looking to win a game on the road against Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 11.25).