Pablo Sandoval: Giants Slugger Hits 3 HRs in Game 1 of World Series

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 24:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants hits a solo home run to center field against Al Alburquerque #62 of the Detroit Tigers in the fifth inning during Game One of the Major League Baseball World Series at AT&T Park on October 24, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Pablo Sandoval entered elite company Wednesday night, smacking three home runs in Game 1 of the World Series.

How many people have done that before? ESPN's Jayson Stark clarified the elite company Sandoval joined with his powerful performance:

Your complete list of men who hit 3 HR in a World Series game: Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols, Pablo Sandoval

— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 25, 2012


Not bad, huh? What's even more incredible is how he did it. Sandoval popped his third home run off middle reliever Al Alburquerque, but his first two came off Detroit's ace Justin Verlander.

Sandoval's first home run caused jubilation in AT&T Park in the first inning, taking a high fastball 421 feet to dead center:

"Kung Fu Panda" struck again in the third inning, this time bringing home Marco Scutaro on a two-run shot to left field.

He didn't chase Verlander on his own, but his three RBI played a major role in an extremely disappointing start for baseball's best pitcher.

Once Verlander was lifted in the fifth inning, Sandoval struck again. This time, he hit another solo home run to center field, giving the Giants a definitive 6-0 lead entering the game's late innings.

If Sandoval were a renowned slugger, that would be one thing, but he's not. He had 12 home runs in the regular season, making him an unlikely candidate to touch the Tigers up for three critical blasts.

Nonetheless, he did, and that's what the postseason is all about: finding that magic. San Francisco had it when it climbed out of a 2-0 hole against the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS, and it had it when it cleared a 3-1 deficit against the Cardinals in the NLCS.

Anyone who has been following this Giants squad shouldn't be surprised by anything, but Sandoval's magnificent display has been jaw-dropping to say the least.