Orange towels waved violently in the air as the Giants inched inning by inning to a 8-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in game one of the World Series.
It was an unexpected show by the Tigers’ pitching staff, as their ace Justin Verlander struggled to keep the Giants’ bats quiet. On the flip side Barry Zito kept the Tigers off their game, only allowing one run in 5.2 innings pitched. Despite him struggling to get ahead early in the count, Zito managed to let his defense work for him to produce outs and pick up his first World Series win.
Although defense for the Giants was on par, you can’t win ball games without runs. Starting third baseman Pablo Sandoval—also known as “Panda,” set the tone for the rest of the lineup with his single run home run in the first inning, giving the Giants the lead right off the bat. Little did he and the rest of the world know, he was about to tie the record for the most home runs in a World Series with big-timers like Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols.
Later in the bottom of the fourth, the Giants continued to take down Verlander with Brandon Belt taking a walk to lead off the inning. Although left-fielder Gregor Blanco got rung up on an inside pitch and short-stop Brandon Crawford grounded out, Zito picked up the slack with a base hit to score Belt continuing to stretch the score with the Giants leading 5-0.
Zito continued to rise to the challenge in the top of the fifth inning with a quick three up three down session, getting back to the dugout to do more damage.
The bottom of the fifth consisted of Sandoval’s third home run of the game, putting the Giants ahead 6-0, which was the record-setting hit that tied him with some of baseball’s greatest players of all time.
As the top of the sixth inning came into play, Zito began to fall behind in the counts as Tim Lincecum started heating up over in the bull pen. The pitching change was made, and Giants fans rose to their feet as Zito tipped his hat to the crowd and headed into the dugout.
The Tigers continuously struggled to find the right arm to throw against the Giants to stop the bleeding, going through four pitching changes in seven innings attempting to keep them off balance.
Although a pitching change was made for the Giants, Lincecum didn’t fall short of keeping the Tigers out of scoring range, throwing five strikeouts in 2.1 innings and maintaining poise and precision on the hill.
Heading into the ninth, reliever Jose Mijares took to the mound to throw to only one batter before facing Delmon Young, his former teammate he previously had issues with. George Kontos took the ball out of his hands to close out the game, but was stopped short by Jhonny Peralta’s two-run homer with one out. Jeremy Affedlt then took to the mound with two outs, throwing only one pitch to shut down the Tigers’ ninth inning rally.
At SF State, fans piled into the lower conference level of Cesar Chavez Student Center to witness the Giants win their first game of the series. Tonight’s energetic crowd nearly doubled in numbers compared to Monday’s crowd in The Depot.
Among the high-spirited group was junior Tomás Ortega, who started multiple game chants in the student center to keep everyone’s energy up.
“I try to do as much as I can to have a really good time when I watch the games because it’s more than just a game – it’s a whole fan experience and I want everyone around me to have a good time,” the 25-year-old international relations major said. “If the game’s a blowout, like it was, the energy could die for a second. I want to keep it lively.”
Other fans like 21-year-old Sergio Rodriguez watched the game with superstitions in mind. For Rodriguez, he said he has to listen to the game on the radio to follow the Giants.
“I always have to hear the game,” the junior anthropology major said. “I just do it because, for me, it brings good luck. I get to know what’s going on through hearing.”
The Giants will face the Tigers in game two of the World Series at AT&T park tomorrow at 5:07 p.m.