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Live from Rangers Ballpark: It's Game Four

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Greetings and Happy Halloween on another glorious night from Rangers Ballpark as we get set for Game Four of the World Series. "I Got Texas In My Soul" is pounding over the PA and there's a gorgeous sunset behind the first-base side of the park.

The Giants have a 2-1 lead in the series but manager Bruce Bochy has made several lineup switches. Pat Burrell, who is 0 for 9 with eight strikeouts in the series and fanned four times Saturday night, is out. Bochy moved Cody Ross from right field to left to take Burrell's place, while Nate Schierholtz gets his first start of the postseason playing right. Aubrey Huff moves to designated hitter and Travis Ishikawa his first start of the series at first.

Tommy Hunter pitches tonight for Texas against San Francisco rookie Madison Bumgarner. Naturally, it's a huge game but that's really accented by the pitching matchup for Game Five: A rematch of the Cliff Lee-Tim Lincecum showdown from Game One. 

If the Giants win tonight, they could have their ace Lincecum pitching for the title here tomorrow. If the Rangers win, their ace would be trying to give them a home sweep and a 3-2 lead as we had back West. 

As we await the first pitches from former Presidents Bush and Bush, here are the lineups:

San Francisco: Torres, cf; Sanchez, 2b; Huff, dh; Posey, c; Ross, lf; Uribe, 3b; Ishikawa, 1b; Renteria, ss; Schierholtz, rf. Pitcher: Bumgarner
Texas: Andrus, ss; Young, 3b; Hamilton, cf; Guerrero, dh; Cruz, lf; Kinsler, 2b; Francoeur, rf; Molina, c; Moreland, 1b. Pitcher: Hunter

As usual at these events when there's six gazillion media members and photographers and you're sitting among the fans, I'll be fighting for Internet bandwidth. We'll keep working on it to get you some updates/observations/thoughts as this one goes along.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Pregame: Solid anthem job by Lyle Lovett as a HUGE -- and I mean HUGE -- U.S. flag is unfurled in the outfield by servicemen. They do everything big here. Plus the Lone Star Texas state flag in center field. Cool. 

George-GeorgeQuite a scene as ex-President Bush drives his father in on a golf cart from left field (left) and they meet Nolan Ryan at the mound. Ryan then goes and makes the catch of the ceremonial pitch from the younger Bush, the former Rangers owner. The crowd gets good chuckles as former First Lady Barbara Bush is behind the screen snapping pictures and then starts a "USA, USA" chant after the pitch. Great stuff no matter what your political affiliation might be.

Then we get 7-year-old Liam Roybal giving us the "Play Ball" call. Who's he? He's the Dallas-area kid causing a stir here for dressing up as manager Ron Washington, moustache and bald head and all. Everyone in town is calling the kid Little Ron. Check out the link and you'll see why. 

Top-1st: We're under way as Hunter throws a called strike to Torres at 7:22 CT (8:22 Eastern). The temperature is a balmy 77 degrees, or about 30 degrees warmer than it was on Halloween night last year in Philadelphia.

End-1st: No score through 1. Hunter got out of an early jam as Torres reached on an infield single and stole second. But he was left at third on a Posey groundout. Bumgarner looked shaky as he walked Andrus on four pitches. Young forced him as a wide throw by Sanchez foiled the double play. Renteria did the turn better on Hamilton, as the Rangers slugger hit into the DP to end the inning.

Ham catch Mid-2nd: The Giants are turned away again as Hamilton makes a spectacular headlong dive (right) to spear Nate Schierholtz's two-out liner on the backhand and leave runners at the corners. Hunter got into that jam only because umpire Jeff Kellogg out-and-out blows the call at first on what should have been an inning-ending double play (Travis Ishikawa was clearly out). Washington came out to argue as the crowd booed. Even Little Ron could have made that call. Maybe the Rangers should have sent him out to argue!

Edgar Renteria then followed with a nine-pitch at-bat that finished with a single to send Ishikawa first-to-third. So Hunter had to throw 11 extra pitches (and is now at 44 through two innings) because of the blown call, the first real umpire issue of the series. No idea what Kellogg was looking at though. Ball wasn't in the dirt. Should have been easy.

End-2nd: Still zip-zip as Sanchez tries to one-up Hamilton with a leaping spear of a Francouer liner to end the inning and prevent Kinsler, who had walked, from going first to third.

Huff HR Mid-3rd:Dallas-area native Aubrey Huff smacks his hometown team with a two-run homer to right on the first pitch and the Giants lead, 2-0. But this was set up by the way the Giants are killing Hunter by working counts. Torres led off with a double off the first-base bag on the eighth pitch he saw. Sanchez then grounded to third on the ninth pitch -- after fouling off five 0-2 deliveries. Huff then struck on an 86-mph offering, sending it 404 feet down the line. Hunter recovered to fan Posey and get Ross on a fly ball but he's thrown 72 pitches in three innings (48 strikes) and simply can't get the Giants to swing through any of his offerings.. The Rangers' pen is getting some work tonight.

End-3rd: The Rangers have no hits off Bumgarner. He's thrown only 42 pitches through three. The rookie has ice in his veins based on his relief stint in the NLCS and now this outing.

End-4th: The Rangers get their first hit, Young's infield single to second. But he's erased on a fielder's choice and the inning eventually ends with Hamilton caught stealing. The Huff home run has completely sucked the life out of this place. Even with Lee going tomorrow, you can sense the fear of a 3-1 deficit facing Lincecum. And Alexei Ogando is replacing Hunter to start the fifth.

End-5th: Giants hold their 2-0 lead as Bumgarner needs just eight pitches to get through the innings. He's got a one-hitter going on just 61 pitches and has been in complete control after the obvious jittery four-pitch walk he issued to Andrus leading off the first. He's thrown first-pitch strikes to 12 of the 15 hitters since.

Top-6th: Ogando retired all five Giants he faced, two on strikeouts, and was really dealing. But now he's gone, apparently hurting an oblique or a back muscle on an 0-1 pitch to Uribe. Darren Oliver comes on. Update: Oliver gets Uribe on a popup to end the inning and it's confirmed that Ogando has an oblique strain. See you at spring training in Arizona.

Mid-7th: At God Bless America, it's looking good for the Giants. Torres lines a two-out double to the gap in right-center off Oliver to score Renteria, who has singled three times, and that makes it 3-0, San Francisco. Hope you folks will cut me some slack tonight as the print deadline beckons with a start that was a full 90 minutes later than last night.

Top-8th: Posey goes deep to center to make it 4-0 off Darren O'Day, who blows up again coming out of the pen. Posey and Bumgarner, by the way, are the first rookie battery in a Series game since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra of the Yankees worked in the opener in 1947 against Brooklyn.

End-8th: Still 4-0 for the Giants. Bumgarner has a three-hit shutout going but the last three outs were hard drives to left, with Francoeur taking him to the wall in this inning. He's at 105 pitches and you have to believe that's going to be it for him.

One win to go for the Giants: Brian Wilson pitches a 1-2-3 ninth as San Fran wins 4-0. Lincecum goes for the clincher tomorrow. 

Photos: Associated Press

Overheard at the Cowboys game

DSCN1229ARLINGTON, Texas -- What's a World Series reporter to do with a free afternoon? Sleep? Nah. I got my hands on a ticket to today's Cowboys-Jaguars game at the absolutely gigundus Cowboys Stadium. Paid $23 on the secondary market. If you read the blog the other day, you'll know I got a picture of Super Bowl XXVII on the ticket. Yeesh.

There were no drunken fools among the 90,000 or so of us in the stands (the place was packed by the end of the first quarter). Of course, people have given up on the Cowboys as they fell to 1-6 with a 35-17 loss. It was 14-3 in the final seconds of the first half and the Boys couldn't get a yard on two straight plays. Jax scored to open the second half to make it 21-3 and that was that. And the fans weren't happy. Some of the best cracks I heard:

"Thank God we have Cliff Lee."

"How in the world did y'all love a baseball team more?"

"[Wade] Phillips makes [Ron] Washington look and sound like Socrates" (of course, that was followed by the guy's buddy saying, "Never heard of Soccertees")

"I gotta find somebody to take my Thanksgiving tickets so I don't choke on a bone."

DSCN1249"Hey, we got the best TV in the league -- and they don't even put Wade on it."

Let's just say this is the biggest stadium I have ever seen and the much-publicized video board (left) is every bit as spectacular as you've heard. They use it well for game action, replays and for entertainment. They even show some Red Zone highlights but there's a dearth of out-of-town scores, which was my only real complaint.

And the rumors of $14 beers that people were sending me on Twitter were unfounded. Prices weren't stadium sky-high as you might think.

DSCN1256I came down from the upper deck at halftime and checked out the massive end zone standing-room areas. Great views if you can get in the front 2-3 people, which was pretty easy today. At 28-3, I gave up the ghost and returned to the hotel to prep for baseball but only after snapping this shot of these two cowboys (right) looking out the windows across the street at the ballpark in the distance. All in all, a very worthwhile experience to see the place. Since they charge $27.50 for tours, I got a game with it for only a little more once you count service charges.

So now it's back down the street to Rangers Ballpark for Game Four of the World Series. It starts at 8:20. Be sure to join me here for the latest news.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Audio recap of Rangers' Game Three win

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mike Harrington's audio recap on the Rangers' 4-2 win in Game Three over the Giants talks about the clutch pitching of Colby Lewis, the work of the Texas bullpen and how Josh Hamilton looked like Josh Hamilton for the first time in the series.

Click below to hear the audio.

Live from Rangers Ballpark: It's Game Three

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Is this late October or July? It's a beautiful night down South. Bright sunshine, temperatures in the 70s at Rangers Ballpark for Game Three of the World Series. I might get a sunburn in this auxiliary press box. What in the world was I thinking when I brought a jacket? Stupid Yank. 

Prior to the game, Tommy Hunter did all the usual interviews the next day's starter always does in the media room. He's listed to go in Game Four. But seriously now, if the Rangers lose tonight and fall into a 3-0 hole, is there anyway they don't come back with Cliff Lee? Are you going to let Tommy Hunter decide your fate and possibly let Cliff Lee go into free agency without a second start in the World Series?

So that's something to keep in mind if this one starts heading in the Giants' direction. Maybe the Rangers reaffirm what I saw in the clubhouse yesterday and get energized from playing at home. We'll see.

DSCN1176 By the way, the food in this place is being done by Sportservice, the Buffalo-based arm of Delaware North. You can go here to read the company's rundown of all their offerings and their estimates of how much people will be chowing down here this weekend. What a character-filled place. Huge, soaring ceilings, Lone Star designs all over the place. You have no question where you are. The concessions have great signage too (right).

A few miles from here, you and I might care a lot but no one down here does as the Sabres play their second straight game without Craig Rivet. Be sure to follow John Vogl's posts all evening at the Sabres Edge blog.  Pretty seminal moment for LIndy Ruff in his coaching career to bench the captain, don't you think?

Enough hockey in this space. Here's tonight's lineup:

San Francisco: Torres, cf; Sanchez, 2b; Huff, 1b; Posey, c; Burrell, lf; Ross, rf; Uribe, 3b; Sandoval, dh; Renteria, ss. Pitcher: Sanchez

Texas: Andrus, ss; Young, 3b; Hamilton, cf; Guerrero, dh; Cruz, lf; Kinsler, 2b; Francoeur, rf; Molina, c; Moreland, 1b. Pitcher: Lewis

Live updates to come once Kelly Clarkson is finished.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Nolan-pudgeTop-1st: After Nolan Ryan fired a ceremonial first pitch to Pudge Rodriguez (with both getting huge cheers, left) and Rangers Hall of Famer Rusty Greer delivered the game ball to the mound, we're underway at 6 p.m. Central with a real pitch, a called strike from Lewis to Torres. The temperature is 79 degrees. There's just a few glimmers of sun/shadow in the infield. Probably not much problem at all and will certainly be no problem in a few minutes as the sun continues to descend below the upper rim of the stadium behind the RF corner. Just as the Rangers took the field, they showed a brief montage of Ryan highlghts. What got the biggest cheer? His noggin-pounding of Robin Ventura when the poor White Sox infielder charged the mound in the early 90s.

Lewis gave up a single to Sanchez and a walk to Posey but fanned Burrell to get out of the threat. Wow, does the ball carry well here compared to San Francisco. Huff is retired on a lazy fly to right that just about made the warning track. That's routine by the Bay. The flags are blowing hard straight in from right and center here although we don't really feel any breeze at all in the middle level. One other point: They got the white rally towels going here but I'm underwhelmed by the noise level, considering what it seemed like in the ALCS. It was much, much louder in San Francisco. 

End-1st: Zip-zip. Burrell short-hops a Young single but makes a great catch against the wall on a Guerrero liner. In between, Hamilton lofted a first-pitch popup to Uribe in short LF. Hamilton drops to 1 for 9 in the series. Big bust so far.

Moreland HR End-2nd: Rangers take a 3-0 lead as Mitch Moreland comes up with a clutch two-out, three-run homer (right). It was a no-doubter to right that he golfed out in about a second. Cruz led off with a first-pitch double off the wall in center. Cruz went to third on Kinsler's grounder to short (not the smartest move but he got away with it). But with one out and a man on third, Francoeur jumped at the first pitch and grounded weakly to Uribe at third. Molina walked and Moreland fouled off four 2-2 pitches before jumping on an 89-mph fastball. Remember, they were 0-9 RISP in Game Two and had 12 straight hitless ABs in that situation until the home run, which was their first of the series.

End-4th: The Rangers hold their 3-0 lead as Lewis has taken 53 pitches to get through four innings and has allowed just two hits. Vogl sends me a message from downtown prior to the start of the Sabres-Stars game that no one within a hundred miles of here cares about today. Be sure to go to the link to get your Sabres updates (and sorry dude, not trading my chair this evening even if American Airlines Arena is as big as a hangar and is one of the nicer places I've seen a game in. Not to mention the Giants have done nothing against Lewis since the first inning).

Mid-5th: Lewis in complete control and it remains 3-0. The white towels are waving and we're having a "Deep in the Heart of Texas" sing-a-long. Totally awesome. 

Bot-5th: We have a Hamilton sighting.  He pounds a hanging breaking ball to deep right-center for a solo shot to make it 4-0, Rangers. Second two-out homer Sanchez has given up. The theme from "The Natural" plays and the scoreboard high atop the right field deck says simply, "HAMBINO". Guerrero walks on four pitches and Bruce Bochy takes a walk to the mound to get Sanchez. Guillermo Mota coming in. Texas in control. Looks like Vogl doesn't have to worry about taking out a second mortgage to change his plane home and try to find a game ticket to potentially see the Giants go for a sweep tomorrow night (sorry, dude).

End-6th: Still 4-0. Lewis has shut down the Giants on three hits.

End-7th: It's 4-1 after I had an Internet outage. Cody Ross pounded a solo homer with one out in the seventh on a full-count pitch off Lewis.

Mid-8th: Make that 4-2. On Lewis' 99th pitch, Andres Torres took him deep to right for another solo shot. Sanchez flied to left, on a solid play moving toward the wall by Cruz. Lewis got ahead of Huff, 0 and 2, but hit him in the foot with a pitch and he's gone. Darren O'Day in for Texas to face Posey. He needs one out to get them to Feliz. And he does it on a full-count pitch, inducing a grounder to short.

End-8th, 3 outs to go for Texas: It remains 4-2 and Feliz is coming in.

It's over: Feliz throws a 1-2-3 ninth and Texas wins it 4-2 to get within 2-1 in the series.

Game photos: Associated Press

A Texas-style Series day

DSCN1218 ARLINGTON, Texas -- We're less than two hours away from the first pitch of Game Three of the World Series. Don't forget, it's a 6:57 Eastern first pitch, the earliest for a game since 1987. What a relief from normal crazy deadlines (but I'll get mine tomorrow night when we go at 8:20 in deference to the almighty NFL).

The scene outside Rangers Ballpark is akin to an NFL game. The place is surrounded by acres and acres of parking lots and red-clad Ranger fans tailgating are everywhere on a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 70s. Turns out MLB didn't have to worry about late October weather in this series. Check out the Longhorn sculptures high on the ballpark's brick facade cool (click the pic)

DSCN1208 The Rangers put on the ritz Friday night for media and corporate types with a gala party at the Circle R Ranch. Great food, great Texas-themed fun. Not too often you get beef tenderloin sliders and stuffed shrimp poppers at a Series party. Lots of characters around too. Cowboys shooting blanks, using their lassos and even one dude all dressed in gold (right).

What a fool I am. I must have stared at the guy for 20 seconds from a distance of about 2 feet. I was just about gonna touch his Rangers hat when he blinked. Yes, he blinked. I jumped back a couple feet and he stayed in total mime character. Never flinched. Now click on the picture and you tell me: Is he real or not?

We'll have more in a bit from the pregame interview sessions. It's been too long since we have a game to write about. The off day prior to Game Three and Game Six at the World Series is always a tough one. Need new issues. So while we wait for some to develop, be sure to take a look below at the armadillo bullpen from last night, not to be confused with the one the Rangers used out in San Francisco.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Thoughts from workout day

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mike Harrington's latest podcast discusses the Rangers' hopes for a comeback now that they've returned home in a 2-0 hole against the San Francisco Giants:


Click here to take the audio with you

Rangers still loose in face of 0-2 hole

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When I arrived in Denver in 2007 after the Rockies had lost the first two games of the World Series in Fenway Park, I found a team that seemed like it was spent. That Colorado team, remember, had gone 21-1 coming into that series but had nine days off and never regained its momentum. The Rockies lost both games at home and the series was quickly over.

I don't get that sense here. The Rangers were resolute about returning home to do some damage against the Giants when we spoke to them here this afternoon. A few comments:

IF Michael Young: "This team has been really good at being a forward-thinking group. The last thing we're concerned about is why things went wrong in the first two games. We lost. We know how tough this group is so we'll be ready to roll for Game 3. We always assume the next game is going to be our game and that kind of approach has served us well."

IF Ian Kinsler: "We've been making history all year so why stop now? We know we're in a hole. We just want another trip back to San Francisco."

Reliever Derek Holland: "We expect three victories here. We're not backing down from anything. Last night is over. It's a new day." (Holland better think that after his disaster out of the pen)

Josh Hamilton was one of the few Rangers with nothing to say. He walked into the room, saw the horde of cameras and notepad-toters and did an exit-stage left into a restricted area. He never reappeared in the 45 minutes of access time we had. Well, he's disappeared at the plate too so far.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

The scene shifts to Texas

DSCN1173 ARLINGTON, Texas -- We're on the scene at Rangers Ballpark for workout day of the World Series. It was supposed to be a festive weekend here as the Texas Rangers host a Series game for the first time in their history. But those back-to-back disasters by the Bay have put a bit of a damper on that.

It will be interesting to gauge the Rangers' mood today. Their clubhouse will be open within the hour and manager Ron Washington will speak at 4:30 ET. This place opened in 1994 across the highway from old Arlington Stadium. The large windows you see on televsion and in the picture at right in center field are actually the team offices and gift shop. The new Dallas Cowboys stadium -- which looks like a giant spaceship that dropped from the sky -- is maybe a quarter-mile away across the acres of parking lots.

The Rangers have made a couple announcements. Nolan Ryan will throw the first pitch Saturday night while former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush will do the honors Sunday. The younger Bush, of course, is a former owner of the Rangers.

It's a very busy weekend here. The Sabres are in town tomorrow night to play the Dallas Stars (they couldn't move the game time because of Buffalo's game tonight in Atlanta), so there will probably be flies downtown to watch in American Airlines Center (John Vogl will be there of course blogging it for us).

DSCN1178On Sunday, the disappointing Cowboys host Jacksonville. It starts at noon and the World Series press conferences don't start until 4:30 so I scoped out a very cheap ticket on the secondary market ($23 plus fees!). I got it via Fed Ex today. Look at the picture (left). Like they have to keep wedging that in on us. Super Bowl XXVII. The 52-17 disaster. Never live that one down.

DSCN1177 The Rangers are hosting a pre-Series gala tonight for media and corporate types at a place called Circle R Ranch. Something tells me I better check that out. Don't know when the ol' Circle R will be calling my name again any time soon. 

Keep it here for more updates later this afternoon from both teams and remember that all pictures are clickable for a bigger view.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Game Two audio recap: Giants in control

SAN FRANCISCO -- As downtown erupts in celebration, listen to Mike Harrington's audio wrapup from AT&T Park after the Giants' 9-0 win over the Texas Rangers in Game Two of the World Series.

Live from the windy Bay: Giants-Rangers Game Two updates

SAN FRANCISCO -- The hatches are batoned down here as the wind is howling before Game Two of the World Series. The skies are ominous looking, especially out in center field, and we're hoping the rain holds off. We're hoping the Internet holds up too, unlike last night.

Here are the lineups:

Texas: Andrus, ss; Young, 3b; Hamilton, cf; Cruz, rf; Kinsler, 2b; Murphy, lf; Treanor, c; Moreland, 1b; Wilson, p
San Francisco:  Torres, cf; Sanchez, 2b; Posey, c; Burrell, lf; Ross, rf; Huff, 1b; Uribe, 3b; Renteria, ss; Cain, p

You'll note no Vlad Guerrero and Treanor in for Molina as Wilson's personal catcher.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

End-1st: The first pitch was a ball from Cain to Andrus at 4:57 PT. The temperature is 65 degrees. Doesn't feel like it. It was a 1-2-3 inning for both starters. Sanchez nearly had a hit but a great play in short RF by Kinsler and a great stretch by Moreland retired Sanchez in his bid for his fifth hit in 10 innings. Saw that FOX graphic that said the wind is 12 mph. Where? in Denver? At least 25-30 mph, maybe more. The folks in the concourses on the upper deck are getting blown all over the place. Take my word for it. I was up there about 30 minutes ago. It was survival mode.

End-2nd: Wasn't this supposed to be how Lee vs. Lincecum was going to go? It's zip-zip through two with all six Rangers retired and six of the seven Giants. The exception was Ross, who cranked Wilson's 3-1 pitch down the line in left for a double. He went to third on a Huff grounder but was left when Uribe flied to center. Wilson has thrown 32 pitches through two while Cain has needed only 20.

End-3rd: Still zip-zip. It's taken just 48 minutes to play three scoreless innings, or about 15 minutes longer than the average single inning in a routine Yankees game. Little-known Mitch Moreland got the Rangers' first hit, a one-out single to right in the third and that gives him a team-high three hits so far. But he's Texas' only baserunner off Cain. The Giants' starter got a broken-bat single of his own with one out but was forced at second for the final out. Two hits for the Giants, one for Texas. Wilson 44 pitches, 26 strikes and most important for him, no walks. Cain just 35-23.

End-4th: The zip-zip update. The Rangers have no chance so far against Cain. His third 1-2-3 inning, although Hamilton took him halfway through the warning track in left-center. The inning ended with a wicked breaking ball that buckled Cruz's knees and was taken for strike three. Cain has retired 12 of 13 on just 46 pitches. Wilson walked Burrell with one out and got out with no other damage as Murphy hauled in Huff's liner pretty routinely. Bet Vlad doesn't make that play, however. Wilson has thrown 57 pitches. Two hits for the Giants, one for Texas. 

Mid-5th: Are the Giants a team of destiny? Starting to wonder after what happened here. Kinsler leads off by pounding an 0-2 pitch to dead center and it's going, going, off the top of the wall and back into play for a double. He couldn't throw the ball on top  of the wall like that and have it come back. Murphy then lines one hard -- but right at Renteria at short. Treanor grounds to short and Moreland is intentionally walked. That brings up Wilson and the pitcher bounces to first. The Rangers don't score and we're halfway home.

End-5th: Destiny alert II. With one out, Edgar Renteria blasts an 0-1 Wilson fastball over the wall in left to give the Giants the 1-0 lead it looked like the Rangers would grab courtesy of Kinsler.  Renteria hadn't homered since Sept. 4 and didn't even have an extra-base hit since Sept. 16. Lots of weird things happening in these two games. The Rays and Yankees must be sitting home thinking the Rangers used up all their good tidings in the previous two series.

Mid-6th: The Rangers look as tight as they did in losing Games 3 and 4 at home to the Rays. Young singled with one out and didn't go first-to-third -- which is this team's trademark -- when Hamilton got his first hit of the series on a looper to right. Great play by Ross to smother the ball and keep it in front of him but it clearly wasn't going to be caught. Young should have been at third. Cain wild pitched the runners to second and third but Cruz popped up to first and Kinsler flied out to right to keep the Giants in front, 1-0

Young and Hamilton are both 1 for 7 in the series. Cruz is 1 for 8 and Kinsler is 2 for 7. That's not going to get the job done.

End-6th: A 1-2-3 inning for Wilson keeps it 1-0 and a huge roar for Joe Montana's face on the CF scoreboard. 

7th-inning stretch: Another 1-2-3 for Cain, who has a four-hit shutout and has not allowed an earned run in 20 2/3 innings in this postseason. Not to impugn on the military, but this version of God Bless America by this female solider is horrific. Absolutely horrific. You're not on American Idol. And you're not close to Tony Bennett. And you got a couple of the words wrong. Get off the field. Terrible.

Mid-8th: Cain is out after a one-out walk to Andrus and a fly ball to Young. Lopez gets Hamilton on a fly ball for the final out of the inning to extend Cain's postseason scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings this year. The Giants record of 22 is by Carl Hubbell in 1933-1936. Still 2-0. Three outs to go for a 2-0 lead.

On to the 9th: It's over for Texas tonight. A seven-run eighth makes it 9-0  as eight straight Giants reach after two out. Why didn't Ron Washington go to closer Neftali Feliz to keep it close for the ninth? Went to the Joe Girardi school of managing. 

Huff draws a bases-loaded walk from Derek Holland and Uribe gets one from Mark Lowe. The lefty Holland walked all three men he faced, throwing his first 11 pitches out of the strike zone as the crowd roared. Renteria followed with a two-run single, pinch-hitter Aaron Rowand lashed a two-run triple to right-center and Andres Torres followed with an RBI double. Washington has looked foolish in this series.

It's over: A 9-0 rout for the Giants. On to Texas. 

Pregame chatter by the Bay

SAN FRANCISCO -- We're about an hour away from the start of Game Two of the World Series and here's what's making news at AT&T Park.

---It's a typical Bay Area day. That means windy-windy-windy. The flags are flying. Wonder if anyone gets blown off the mound like used to happen at Candlestick Park. A bigger issue is it's supposed to rain. The TVs in the auxiliary press box in left field are covered in wrapping and towels have been handed out for reporters to shield their laptops. I've abandoned ship and taken it to the basement workroom for now.

---Vlad Guerrero is out of right field after his two-error melodrama last night. Manager Ron Washington said last night Guerrero would be back out there tonight but he whistled a different tune today, claiming he wanted to split time between Guerrero and David Murphy. Sure. 

---Giants infielder Aubrey Huff regularly attended games at old Arlington Stadium and recalled about sitting in the upper deck on dollar hot dog nights as a teen-ager before today's game. He had tickets to Ryan's seventh no-hitter, in 1991 against Toronto, but did not go to the game.

"My mom was too tired from work that day to take us, and he threw a no-hitter that night and we missed it, Huff said. "I was so upset. Having grown up I've been a Ranger fan my whole life and obviously he was the face of the franchise. For me just to see what he's done with that organization already since he's been there, it's been amazing. It's pretty cool being able to play in the World Series against a team I grew up rooting for."

---Ryan met the media for about 20 minutes and didn't break much new ground. He said he'd love to see baseball drop the DH, that's he disappointed with the Dallas Cowboys season but he's thrilled with the way the Rangers are taking some of the attention away from football.

---The Mets are announcing Sandy Alderson as their new GM tomorrow. That's good news for the Bisons. Alderson is a huge booster of development from his days in Oakland. Sounds like there will be dueling press conferences in New York as the Yankees are set to announce Joe Girardi's new three-year deal as well.

---Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, the former Bisons knuckleballer, has been named the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award for community service. Wakefield has done huge work for the famous Jimmy Fund for cancer research in Boston and in his hometown of Melbourne, Fla.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Some thoughts on McCovey Cove

DSCN1135SAN FRANCISCO -- It's easily the question I get the most every time I come to AT&T Park and I've heard about it again plenty of times in the last three days: Did you walk out to McCovey Cove and what's it like? This is the third time I've been here (2002 World Series, 2007 All-Star Game) and I've made it a point to go out there each time. And while it's not nearly as large as it might look on television, the whole thing is still pretty breathtaking as ballpark backdrops go. The plaque to the left by the way is on the stone pillars just behind right field (click to read).

Cove boats Got a few e-mails and Twitter replies (cheap plug: Follow me at BNHarrington) about the Cove shot I posted on yesterday's live blog. It's reprinted again here for your viewing pleasure (right) and be sure to click on it for a bigger view. The boats were out en masse yesterday as you would expect for a World Series game and it's the kind of shot television executives must love. We had a monitor in the auxiliary press box and saw how many times FOX was going to the blimp shot over the marina with all the boats in the cove. Can you blame them for using it that much? Gorgeous. Only thing in the bigs that would be close is PNC Park in Pittsburgh and I'm not seeing the Pirates playing deep in October any time soon.

DSCN1166 The Giants are hosting postgame parties for media and corporate types across the bridge on the other side of the Cove at Pier 48, a massive 110,000-square foot venue (the requisite California salads were available last night as well as ballpark hot dogs). There are spectacular views of the ballpark from that side as well as the plaza and statue honoring Willie McCovey (left, click reminder)

The Giants do a fabulous job here honoring their history, although some people complain it's actually too much. The ballpark is at 24 Willie Mays Plaza and the Mays statue is the landmark at the home plate gate. There are also statues of Orlando Cepeda and Juan Marichal and plaques on the cove walkway honoring great moments in team history, most of which are No. 25's key home runs. Frankly, I don't think it's too much to honor your history when you have that much of it. I'd like to see some around HSBC Arena, where you wouldn't know we've had a hockey team in Buffalo for 40 years except for a few black-and-white photos plastered on a walkway from the parking ramp. (We got funky steel fake hockey players but where' s the French Connection statue?)

Anyway, at McCovey Plaza across from the Cove is a year-by-year tribute to the Opening Day lineup of each Giants team in San Francisco, from the best ones to the terrible ones. All the players names are listed and fans have purchased bricks. It's a great touch. 

Walking the Cove is pretty awesome to do on a quiet morning. Right on the edge of the marina. Knowing it will be buzzing with the chaos of a World Series game in just a few hours. Be sure to check out my video look at that below. It starts at the marina with a view of the Bay Bridge in the distance and then turns toward the center-field gate of the ballpark and walks down the Cove behind right field.

We'll be back later with more info from today's pregame press conferences, which start at 4:30 Buffalo time.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

Hear the Game One recap

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Harrington filed this audio report from the Giants' 11-7 win over the Texas Rangers in Game One at AT&T Park.

Live from San Fran: Rangers-Giants Game One

SAN FRANCISCO -- Greetings from high above AT&T Park for tonight's World Series opener between the Giants and Texas Rangers. We'll endeavor to give you plenty of updates/observations on this one. But, strangely enough since this lovely place is named after a telcom company, the wireless has been conking out the last half hour. We'll see how it goes.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

The lineups

Texas: Andrus, ss; Young, 3b; Hamilton, cf; Guerrero, rf; Cruz, lf; Kinsler, 2b; Molina, c; Moreland, 1b; Lee, p
San Francisco: Torres, cf; Sanchez, 2b; Posey, c; Burrell, lf; Ross, rf; Huff, 1b; Uribe, 3b; Renteria, ss; Lincecum, p 

Ceremonies: Willie Mays is apparently home sick and did not attend the first-pitch ceremony of Giants greats. Monte Irvin threw a first pitch and former pitcher Dave Dravecky helped deliver the game ball to the mound.

Cove boatsIt's a busy night as you can imagine on McCovey Cove with the boats filling the waterway (left-click on picture for a much bigger view). It's not nearly as big it might look on TV. Took a walk out there this morning. Very serene. Nice walkway setup by the Giants with bronze plaques to honor great moments in the park's history, many of them supplied by No. 25, who regular readers of this space and Inside Baseball know we don't name.

Top-1st: The first pitch was at 7:59 ET by Lincecum to Elvis Andrus. It's 62 degrees and we're under way. The Rangers quickly got a run but it could have been much worse after Lincecum made what could have rated as one of the great braincramps in Series history.

The run scored on Vlad Guerrero's RBI single off the knee of Lincecum. That got the red-clad section of Rangers fans in the upper deck howling, "Let's go, Rangers" to the boos of Giants fans. With runners at the corners, Nelson Cruz hit a comebacker to Lincecum and he had Michael Young hung between third and home. Lincecum ran him back to third -- and then never threw the ball as Young jogged in safely and the bases were loaded. Looked like Lincecum thought Uribe or Renteria, both by the bag, were in Rangers garb and would put a second man on the base with Young.

Ooops. Next pitch, however, Lincecum made up for it by getting Ian Kinsler on a 5-5-3 DP to end the threat. Huge relief for him sure.

End-1st: Rangers lead, 1-0. World Series jitters? The Giants sure have them. Freddy Sanchez slashed a broken-bat double with one out off Cliff Lee and was promptly doubled off when Buster Posey's looper into short right field was caught by Kinsler. Great play by the Texas 2B, but no way Sanchez should have been basically all the way to third.

End-2nd: The Giants' follies continue as Texas takes a 2-0 lead. The inning was sparked by Molina's leadoff single and Lee's one-out double to left-center, which drew the "Claw" symbol from his howling teammates in the dugout and a classic "it's easy" gesture from Lee at second. Think Kevin Costner in Bull Durham. The slow-footed Molina scored on Andrus' sac fly to center, thanks to a brutally off-line throw from Andres Torres. Lee slid in safely to third as Posey nearly threw the relay into left field.

End-3rd: The Giants overcome more trouble by Lincecum to get even at 2-2, with Young causing big trouble for Lee. First, he booted Renteria's leadoff grounder for an error. Then he shaded a half-step to his left just as a Lee pitch was delivered and couldn't get back to his right to stop what turned into a Sanchez RBI double to left that made it 2-1. Posey followed with an RBI single up the middle to tie the game. Lee got out of further trouble by getting Burrell to take a called third strike and Ross did likewise, after getting ahead, 3-1. ESPN.com points out that's the first multi-run inning against Lee since Sept. 23 at Oakland -- 42 innings ago. Until the third, he had been scoreless in 24 of 26 in the postesason. He needed 32 pitches to get through that inning and is at 60 through three. Wow.

Giants follies update: Lincecum popped up a bunt to Molina after Renteria reached. And furthermore, it's pretty bizarre that a ballpark named after a telcom company has this kind of miserable Internet service. Barely able to get any posts up. 

End-4th: Still 2-2. The Rangers don't score but don't discount the importance of Mitch Moreland's two-out double Lee followed with the final out, a grounder to short, but Moreland allowed the Rangers to  turn the lineup around and get Andrus leading off the fifth. Conversely, Lee bounced back with a 1-2-3 inning, with Renteria popping up for the final out. That means Lincecum leads off the fifth for the Giants. Nice 10-pitch AB for Uribe, who eventually struck out, that pushed Lee's pitch count to 75.

End-5th: Lee is gone. And this game is out of hand as the Giants explode for six to take an 8-2 lead. Wow. Bet the Yankees and Rays are sitting home wondering where they went wrong. Lee is charged with seven of the runs. Sanchez's RBI double put the Giants ahead, 3-2. He certainly solved Lee by going 3 for 3 with three doubles -- or one more hit than the Yankees got in Game Three of the ALCS. Two-out RBI singles by Ross and Huff sent Lee to the showers to make it 5-2. Darren O'Day came on and was no better. His first two pitches were balls and Uribe pounded his third one into the bleachers in left for a three-run homer that got this place shaking. 

Lee's final line: 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 104 pitches, 63 strikes. Amazing. Didn't the Giants look awful the first 2 1/2 innings of this one? Crazy. Lee simply never got his pitches down in the zone. He is human: You get the ball up, you get hit.

End-6th: The Giants lead it, 8-4, as Lincecum is gone after 5 2/3. Raise your hand if you had 8-4 with both guys out before the sixth. Thought so. What happened to our pitchers' duel? Crazy. Santiago Casilla with a big one for San Fran, fanning Elvis Andrus to leave two on with the Rangers entertaining real thoughts of a quick comeback. Internet continues to be very, very spotty.

We're very lucky with the weather here, by the way. High 50s and virtually no wind. I remember how miserable it was in 2002 with cohort Bob DiCesare sitting in the LF bleachers where the auxiliary media area was. Cold and windy, with papers blowing everywhere and everything in your possession used as a paper weight.

End-7th: Still 8-4. Sergio Romo in to pitch the eighth for the Giants.

It's over: After a miserable night of technology in the press areas and pitching on the mound, the Giants win the opener, 11-7. The teams combined for 18 runs, 25 hits and six errors. So much for that 2-1 Lee vs. Lincecum duel. We'll be back tomorrow night. Hopefully technology will be too.


On the Series entertainment docket

SAN FRANCISCO -- Quite a buzz here in the China Basin neighborhood as we get set for Game One of the World Series at AT&T Park (It starts at 4:57, or 7:57 to you folks back home). The pregame media sessions begin shortly and I'll provide any news that comes out of those.

In the interim, here's some information on the entertainment side that you'll see on the Fox telecasts:

Tonight: The Giants will trot out several of their legends and Hall of Famer Willie Mays will throw the ceremonial first pitch. He will be joined by fellow Hall members Orlando Cepeda, Monte Irvin, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry. John Legend will sing the National Anthem and Tony Bennett, who left his heart here, will sing God Bless America.

Game 2: The first pitch will be thrown by the two daughters of late 1951 New York Giants hero Bobby Thomson. Lady Antebellum is on the anthem.

Game 3: Saturday night in Arlington: Kelly Clarkson is on board for the anthem. Something tells me no one but Nolan Ryan can throw the first pitch for the first-ever Series game in Arlington.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

World Series chat from San Francisco

Get set for Game One between the Rangers and Giants as Mike Harrington chats direct from San Francisco. Have questions about the Blue Jays hiring John Farrell? The Mariners tapping Eric Wedge? The demise of the Yankees and Phillies? Bring 'em on. 

 

Final thoughts on Media Day

For a recap of World Series Media Day, listen to Mike Harrington's audio report from San Francisco.

The Rangers meet the media

HamSAN FRANCISCO -- Hope you're all hunkered down back home as I'm reading some horrific weather bulletins out here on a sunny day in NoCal. Hang in for the next few hours and I'll keep bringing you some World Series updates.

The Rangers have concluded their Media Day festivities (the Giants are up within the next hour) and most of the swarm headed straight for Josh Hamilton (right) when Triples Alley was opened up in AT&T Park. Hamilton never shies away from the struggles of his life, his new connection to Jesus Christ and the momentous day in 2005 when his grandmother confronted him about his drug use after she had taken him in a month earlier. Hamilton has widely pointed to that event as the seminal moment in his life.

Here's the audio from the parts of Hamilton's session I was part of. It's long but it's riveting stuff.

Manager Ron Washington, a winner in life comebacks and in the dugout even if his grasp of grammar is woeful, was relaxed and loose. Asked his reaction when told by GM Jon Daniels that the Rangers had acquired Cliff Lee, Washington cracked up the interview room when he said, "My reaction was good job, Jon. You're the man."

As for Lee, he talked about his 2007 stint in Buffalo after getting sent back to the minor leagues by the Cleveland Indians, his mixed emotions about the Phillies in the NLCS (he was rooting for individual players but ultimately wanted his old team to lose because they traded him to Seattle) and discounted a story in today's editions of USA Today about how his wife was subject to harrassment that included spitting last week in Yankee Stadium.

"You can't control 50,000 people and what they're going to do," Lee said. "There were people spitting off the balcony on to the family section and that's kind of weak. ... Just two or three or four people acting like fools. You can't group them all together. There's always going to be a couple goofballs in the crowd."

Here's Lee's answer to the question he received about 2007.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

Photo: Hamilton takes the field for the Rangers' workout/Getty Images

It's World Series Media Day at the ballpark

DSCN1111SAN FRANCISCO -- Welcome to the city by the Bay for our coverage of the 2010 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. It's a glorious, sunny fall day with temperatures expected to push 70. Too bad there's not a game tonight. Still, there's plenty of activity today at AT&T Park as the players and managers meet the media for the first time in the series.

The day before the World Series used to be a hodge-podge affair where everyone piled into clubhouses and the visiting team showed up on a plane two hours before it started. It was chaotic and really not befitting the game's premier event.

Last year, MLB decided to hold a Super Bowl-style day-before circus, utilizing the monstrous Great Hall of Yankee Stadium, and it was widely hailed as a fabulous idea. Players got done with the media (you're not allowed in the clubhouses today) and the media got 45 minutes to go around the room and get any player from either team, just like it's done at the All-Star Game. So we're trying it again today in what's called "Triples Alley" of AT&T Park. That's the hallway in right field and deep right center that you see folks knot-holing to watch the game from when you're watching on TV.

The schedule, however, is on Pacific Time so it will be a while before anyone speaks. Here's The MLB email detailing how it will go today (I made everything Eastern time for you and the benefit of my editors!):

4:45-5:30: Rangers availability, Triples Alley/Arcade Area
5:30-5:45: Rangers Manager Ron Washington, Interview Room
5:45-6:00: Rangers Game One starting pitcher Cliff Lee, Interview Room
6:00-8:00: Rangers conduct workout
6:45-7:30: Giants team media availability, Triples Alley/Arcade Area
7:30-7:45: Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, Interview Room
7:45-8:00: Giants Game One starting pitcher Tim Lincecum, Interview Room
8:00-10:00: Giants conduct workout

So stayed tuned later today for more from the World Series. And be sure to join our World Series chat Wednesday at 1 p.m. as we get set for Game One.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington)

World Series: You make the call

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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