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.
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.
It'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.