For days, sports commentators have been saying that the Texas Rangers’ explosive lineup would give them an edge in the World Series over the supposedly light-hitting San Francisco Giants.
But Wednesday, it was the Giants who showed the Rangers what offensive power looks like, banging out seven extra-base hits, including a three-run home run by Juan Uribe in the fifth, and powering their way to an 11-7 win in Game 1 of the World Series.
The Rangers struck in the first inning, with Elvis Andrus singling to lead off the game against Giants ace Tim Lincecum. Lincecum then walked Michael Young, and the runners advanced on a groundout to first by Josh Hamilton. Vladimir Guerrero then hit a ball off Tim Lincecum’s leg, scoring Andrus.
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It could have been worse for the Giants. A defensive mistake by Lincecum, who had the second out of the inning at third base but did not throw the ball, loaded the bases, but he induced a double-play grounder from Ian Kinsler to get out of the inning.
The Rangers scored again in the second, courtesy of a leadoff single from catcher Bengie Molina, a double by pitcher Cliff Lee, and a sacrifice fly from Andrus.
But the Giants struck back in the third. Edgar Renteria hit a ball to third that went off Young’s glove, and Andres Torres was hit in the elbow by a pitch from Lee. A double by Freddy Sanchez and a single from Buster Posey then tied the game.
Then the Giants blew the game wide open in a fifth inning in which they sent 11 batters to the plate. Back-to-back doubles by Torres and Sanchez — who doubled three times on the night — put the Giants ahead. Then, with two out, NLCS MVP Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff singled to center to make the score 5-2 and chase Lee.
Darren O’Day, in from the bullpen, promptly surrendered a 3-run home run to Juan Uribe to make the score 8-2.
The Rangers got a couple of runs back in the sixth off Lincecum. After two strikeouts, Lincecum walked Kinsler, then Molina doubled to drive him in. Mitch Moreland then hit another ball off Lincecum’s legs to reach base, and pinch-hitter David Murphy singled to score Molina and end Lincecum’s night.
Santiago Casilla struck out Andrus to end the threat.
The Giants would add two more in an eighth inning that featured two errors by Guerrero. Renteria singled to right to lead off the inning, and ended up at third after Guerrero let the ball go past him and then struggled to pick it up. After Travis Ishikawa doubled to bring Renteria home, Sanchez hit a ball down the right field line, scoring Ishikawa.
Guerrero again couldn’t pick up the ball, allowing Sanchez to go to second base, from where he scored on a Nate Schierholtz single.
Guerrero, who is normally the designated hitter for the Rangers and does not play defense, was pressed into service in right field to keep his bat in the lineup. The National League does not have the designated hitter rule, and NL rules apply for World Series games played at AT&T Park.
The Rangers would get three more in the ninth off the Giants’ normally reliable bullpen. Pinch-hitter Julio Borbon beat out an infield single and went to second on a throwing error by first baseman Travis Ishikawa — the sixth of the game by the two teams combined. Andrus drew a walk to chase Ramirez, then the runners advanced on a wild pitch from Jeremy Affeldt. Hamilton walked, forcing Giants manager Bruce Bochy to bring in closer Brian Wilson to put out the fire.
Wilson allowed a sacrifice fly to Guerrero and a two-run double to Nelson Cruz, but got Kinsler to pop out to end the game.
Neither starting pitcher lived up to expectations in a game billed as a matchup of aces. Cliff Lee, undefeated in eight postseason starts up to tonight with a 1.26 ERA, started well, but was tagged for six hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings after his control evaporated in the third inning.
Tim Lincecum, who surrendered four runs in 5 2/3 innings, once again got into trouble early, but appeared to settle down after two innings before losing it in the sixth.
Game 2 of the World Series is tomorrow at AT&T Park, with the first pitch just before 5 p.m. The Giants send Matt Cain to the mount to face the Rangers’ C.J. Wilson.