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Sandoval's three homers power Giants rout of Tigers in Series opener
San Francisco Giants outfielders (from left) Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan, and Hunter Pence celebrate as Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) walks back to the dugout after Wednesday's game one of the World Series. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval homered in each of his first three at-bats and Barry Zito pitched 5 2/3 solid innings as host San Francisco battered Justin Verlander en route to an 8-3 victory in Game One of the World Series.
NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro recorded his seventh multi-hit performance in eight games and drove in two runs while Zito added an RBI single for the Giants, who have outscored their opponents 28-4 over their last four games.
Sandoval, who hit a three-run triple off Verlander in this year's All-Star Game, launched an 0-2 offering from the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner over the wall in center field with two outs to open the scoring. After Scutaro extended his postseason hitting streak to 11 games with a two-out RBI single in the third, Sandoval deposited Verlander's 2-0 pitch into the seats in left for a 4-0 lead.
Sandoval, who singled in the seventh to complete a 4-for-4 effort, became the first Giant to homer twice in a playoff game since Cody Ross accomplished the feat in the 2010 NLCS opener. He joined Babe Ruth (1926 and 1928), Reggie Jackson (1977) and Albert Pujols (2011) as the only players in major-league history to go deep three times in a World Series game when he drilled a 1-1 pitch from Al Alburquerque to center in the fifth.
Scutaro and 2012 NL batting champion Buster Posey added RBI singles against beleaguered Detroit reliever Jose Valverde in the seventh to cap the scoring.
Between Sandoval's second and third homers, Zito delivered his second RBI single of the playoffs in the fourth inning. It marked a postseason-record fourth consecutive game in which a Giants starting pitcher drove in a run.
Zito (1-0) came through with his second straight impressive playoff start, allowing one run and six hits with a walk and three strikeouts. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, who was left off San Francisco's postseason roster in 2010, kept the Giants' season alive by tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings against St. Louis in Game Five of the NLCS.
Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum relieved Zito and tossed 2 1/3 perfect frames, striking out five of the seven batters he faced.
Verlander (0-1) lasted only four innings as he surrendered five runs and six hits.
Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer and 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera added an RBI single for the Tigers, who had been idle since completing a sweep of the New York Yankees in the ALCS on Thursday.
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GAME NOTEBOOK: Sandoval's three-homer performance was just the second in the history of AT&T Park. The first, recorded by Kevin Elster of the Los Angeles Dodgers, occurred in the inaugural game at the stadium on April 11, 2000. ... San Francisco's starting pitchers have allowed two runs in 26 innings over the club's last four games. ... By yielding Sandoval's first two blasts, Verlander now has allowed two homers in a game by the same batter five times in his career. ... When Lincecum replaced Zito, it marked the first time one Cy Young Award winner relieved another in a World Series since 1983, when Jim Palmer came on for Mike Flanagan in Game Three for Baltimore. ... Giants LF Gregor Blanco made a pair of diving catches, robbing Cabrera of a hit in the third inning and Fielder in the fifth. ... American Idol winner Phillip Phillips sang the national anthem and Gaylord Perry threw the ceremonial first pitch.