Pablo Sandoval other wise known as the “Kung Fu Panda” joined the ranks of Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols by hitting three home runs tonight in the opening game of the 2012 World Series at ATT Park in San Francisco won by the Giants 8-3. The Panda now has six homers in the postseason after hitting only twelve all year! And perhaps even more amazing two of Sandoval’s dingers came off Justin Verlander who got bombed tonight in a rare bad outing for the Detroit Tigers Ace.
Barry Zito got the start and his first World Series win tonight for the Giants and he went 5 and 2/3 innings before giving the ball over to another Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, a pair of guys who have known both the spotlight and the wrath of their home fans in the past few years. But tonight #RallyZito looked like the Cy Young pitcher for the A’s before he signed the 7-year deal with the Giants that has been a bust for Barry Zito until this year where he has gone 15-8 during the regular season to go along with his career reviving postseason showing. Lincecum came on and showed why he is such a valuable tool for Giants manager Bruce Bochy going 2 and a 1/3 innings and holding the helpless Tigers scoreless in front of the festive Halloween colored crowd.
The Detroit Tigers have had a long lay-off since sweeping the Yankees last week and they came out rusty tonight in front of a wild and loud group of Giants fans who have been riding a roller coaster of emotions with improbable comebacks in both the NLDS and NLCS. The Giants had enough class to send four Hall of Famers: Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry out to throw out the first pitch for a city that won it all in 2010 after an almost fifty year drought of World Series crowns for the storied franchise that I grew-up watching in the 60’s as a kid.
Of course this is only game one of the World Series so anything can still happen starting with ex-Mariner Doug Fister getting the ball Thursday to try and get a win on the road for the Tigers before Panda-Momemtum gets out of control. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great Giants defense that tonight was led by Gregor Blanco who made two great diving catches in left that could have changed the momentum if he didn’t go all-out to make the grabs. On a sadder note Jim Leyland tried to get his closer Jose Valverde back on track after two rough postseason outings by sending him out to the mound in what may be prove to be his last appearance this postseason after allowing four hits in a row. So enjoy it folks as we are down to the final week of the long 2012 season before the dreary winter sets in for good and anything and everything could happen the Fall Classic.