Giants prove that even a postseason god can bleed

With Cliff Lee on the hill, Game 1 of the World Series was almost a foregone conclusion: Rangers would win the opener and the Giants would have to try and even things up in Game 2.

Too bad the Giants had other plans.

In what had to be the most impressive feat of any team this postseason, the Giants crushed the Rangers 11-7 on Wednesday night to take a 1-0 lead in the Fall Classic. The previously unbeaten Lee went just 4.2 innings while yielding seven runs (six earned) on eight hits.

Freddy Sanchez did the most damage, going 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. He set a postseason record by hitting three doubles in his first three at bats, which all came off Lee. After Texas took a 2-0 lead after two innings of play, Sanchez’s first double scored Edgar Renteria to put the Giants on the board in the third inning. His second double to deep left-center scored Andres Torres in the fifth to give the Giants a 3-2 lead and they never looked back from there.

San Fran scored six runs in that fifth inning to break the game open. Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross had RBI singles, while Juan Uribe hit a towering three-run shot off reliever Darren O’Day to give the Giants an 8-2 lead. The expression on Lee’s face as he watched that inning from the dugout said it all: “How could this have happened?”

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee sits in the dugout after being pulled from the game in the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game 1 of Major League Baseball's World Series in San Francisco October 27, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

What’s interesting is that Lee wasn’t necessarily off his game. He struck out seven batters and showed some of the same mastery that he had in previous postseason starts, but the Giants just hit him – and hit him hard. The fact that Lee is a strike-thrower actually played right into the Giants’ free-swinging approach and they didn’t let up the entire night. It didn’t matter if it was Lee on the mound or Nolan Ryan in his prime – they were going to get hit.

Try as they did, the Rangers did score two runs in the top of the sixth and three runs in the top of the ninth to make it somewhat interesting, but the damage had already been done. The Giants’ offense, which everyone has written off several times this postseason (and for good reason given their shoddy performance at times), had once again came through in the clutch.

Lost in the offensive clinic the Giants put on was their ace Tim Lincecum, who picked up his second postseason win of his career. He certainly wasn’t dominant (5.2 innings, 8 hits, 4 runs, 3 strikeouts), but the Rangers’ offense has a way of humbling even the best pitchers. Simply put, he was good enough on a night where his offense did the talking for him. It was a rare role-switch for a pitcher that usually has to limit his opponent to only two or three runs because he knows his offense will struggle.

The Giants have been a streaky offensive team all year. Given their pitching, if their offense can stay hot then they’re going to be tough to beat. The series is far from over, but this is a picture-perfect start for the G-Men.

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