2010 SF Giants – The Giants Win Ugly In Game One Of The World Series

2010 SF Giants

The Giants have shown in the playoffs that they can win tight, well-played one-run games. Tonight, they showed that they can win ugly, ugly baseball games too.

If you wanted to show someone why baseball is such a great game, you wouldn’t necessarily show them this one. The pitching, which was supposed to be dominating on both sides wasn’t and the Texas Rangers committed four errors while the Giants made two themselves.

You could blame some of it on World Series jitters. Tim Lincecum in particular seemed to be a little overwhelmed by the moment. But so did Cliff Lee, and if you read all the press clippings and watched ESPN at all, he was the one player in the entire series who wasn’t supposed to be phased by it.

In the first inning, Lincecum committed a baseball faux pas by not knowing where the base runners were. He would go on to call it a “brain fart” in the post-game press conference. With the Rangers already up 1-0 and with runners on first and third and only one out, Nelson Cruz tapped one to Lincecum. Michael Young was on third and broke for the plate. Lincecum caught him and ran him back to third. But he forgot to throw to Uribe to tag him out.

Lincecum must’ve thought the bases were loaded and that he was running Young back to third with a runner already on third which would’ve caused Young to automatically be out. But that wasn’t the case. Cruz was safe on the play and the bases were loaded. Thankfully for Lincecum, he coaxed a grounder to third out of Ian Kinsler and Uribe turned it into a double play as he tagged third and fired over to first.

Lincecum gave up another run in the second inning in embarrassing fashion. His old buddy Bengie Molina laced a base hit off him to start the inning. After getting a strikeout, Lincecum faced Cliff Lee. Lee was preparing to sacrifice Molina to second, but instead pulled his bat back and laced a double to left center. Molina went to third on the play and came home on Elvis Andrus’ sacrifice fly.

I actually saw Cliff Lee’s first start last year as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. He shut down the Giants on that day, but also nearly hit the ball out of the park against Ryan Sadowski. He hit the middle of the wall in center field on the fly for a double. So the Giants shouldn’t be surprised at all that Lee can swing the bat.

Lincecum settled down over the next three innings, giving up only one hit. But it was soon Lee’s turn to show some weakness.

The Giants got to Lee in the third on a rally started by Michael Young’s error on an Edgar Renteria ground ball. Freddy Sanchez’s double and Buster Posey’s single knocked in two runs for the Giants to tie the game at two. In the fifth, they broke it open.

Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez hit back-to-back doubles. After Buster Posey struck out, Pat Burrell walked. Then Dashing Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff both hit run scoring singles and Cliff Lee was out of the game. Juan Uribe faced Darren O’Day and took him o’deep to left field for a three-run home run and the Giants were up 8-2.

The national media built up Lee as if he was an unstoppable machine. Well, not like Brian Wilson’s machine. But I thought it was a good match-up for the Giants because he throws strikes and the Giants swing the bat. The Giants, as a team, don’t take too many pitches and when the pitcher throws a lot of strikes, it’s usually to the batters’ advantage.

Lee wasn’t on his A-game for sure, but neither was Lincecum, and yet, while it was ugly, Tim Lincecum out-pitched the national media’s proclaimed best pitcher in baseball again. He out-pitched Roy Halladay twice in the NLCS and did so again tonight against Lee. He’ll have another shot to do so, probably in game five when they are scheduled to meet up.

Vladimir Guerrero was terrible as a right-fielder in this game. He committed two errors and ran around the outfield like running physically hurt his body. It was a pain to watch him, especially if you remember him in his early years with the Montreal Expos. Ron Washington will have to make a call in game two to either play him just for his bat, or sit him because of his defensive deficiency.

The Giants slugged fourteen hits to go along with eleven runs. The two major offensive stalwarts other than Juan Uribe were Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff. Sanchez had four hits (three of them doubles) and three RBI and Huff had three hits as well.

Because Texas can also hit the baseball, there may be more ugly baseball to be played. And as shown tonight, the Giants can play Clint Howard-like ugly baseball and win.

But by beating Lee, they put a ton of pressure on the rest of the starters on the Rangers’ staff. Colby Lewis has had a great post-season thus far and CJ Wilson had a really strong regular season. Tommy Hunter hasn’t pitched well in the post-season just yet, but had a pretty decent regular season as well. They will have to come up big for Texas after the ace didn’t.

For the Giants, if they want to make sure that Texas can’t win the series at home, they’ll have to win game two. Beating Lee means they should be playing with house money, but because of how the schedule works, the reality is that they need to win game two if they want to make sure that they come back to San Francisco for game six.

On the mound is a guy who threw seven shut-out innings against the Phillies in game three of the NLCS. Matt Cain can put the Giants up 2-0 heading back to Texas. The team should be confident. After beating Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, they proved that they can beat anyone.

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