Justin Verlander got bombed, Pablo Sandoval crushed three home runs and Barry Zito turned back the clock once again as the San Francisco Giants took a 1-0 World Series lead over the Detroit Tigers. Just like baseball fans expected.
OK, that's not how everybody expected Game 1 to play out, but that's what makes baseball unique. A team is only as good as that day's starting pitcher. It turned out Zito was better than Verlander in the opener, and now the Giants are in control.
Even though beating the Tigers' dominant ace gives San Francisco the early edge, the team's first two series suggest Giants fans should be prepared for a couple more twists and turns. There's a lot of baseball left to be played.
Where: AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif.
When: Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. ET
While the "Kung Fu Panda" stole the spotlight on Wednesday night with his barrage of homers, it was actually the entire top half of the Giants lineup that got the job done. The first four hitters combined for 10 of the team's 11 hits.
San Francisco doesn't have much star power in its lineup outside of Sandoval and Buster Posey, who chipped in two hits, but its proving that getting hot at the right time is still the biggest factor. And the Giants have certainly done that.
They will send struggling lefty Madison Bumgarner to the mound in Game 2 with hopes the mechanical flaw he fixed will do the trick. He's allowed 10 earned runs in just eight innings during the playoffs after posting a rock-solid 3.37 ERA in the regular season.
The Tigers counter with the underrated Doug Fister. The 28-year-old California native doesn't receive much attention, but he illustrated what he's capable of in late September by striking out nine straight Kansas City Royals to set an AL record.
After last night, his objective is pretty clear: Don't let Sandoval find the sweet spot. The Giants slugger connected in the first inning in Game 1, and the Tigers never seemed to recover. A couple shutdown innings early will do wonders for Detroit's confidence.
If Fister can have a quality start, it's a safe bet the Tigers offense will find its footing. The lineup is one of the deepest in baseball, featuring Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the middle. They will lead the charge to even the series in a close game.
Prediction: Tigers 5, Giants 4