Sandoval homers 3 times in Game 1

Game 1 of the 2012 World Series is in the books. Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs and the San Francisco Giants cruised to an 8-3 rout of the Detroit Tigers behind Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum.

Tigers ace Justin Verlander turned in a surprising dud, allowing five runs and six hits over four innings.

Jhonny Peralta had a two-run homer in the ninth for Detroit.

Fun stat: The only other player to hit three homers in a game at AT&T Park was light-hitting Dodgers shortstop Kevin Elster. He did it back in 2000 in the first game ever at the waterfront ballpark.

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Lincecum strikes out Miguel Cabrera to end the top of the eighth with the Giants leading 8-1.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner is perfect through 2 1-3 innings of relief. Five strikeouts and two groundouts. Lincecum sure looks comfortable out of the bullpen in October after a poor regular season in which he went 10-15, 5.18 ERA.

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Looking for his record-tying fourth home run, Pablo Sandoval singled in the seventh inning as the Giants tacked on more runs. Three homers and a single tonight, not bad for a guy who was benched while slumping through the 2010 postseason.

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Demoted closer Jose Valverde came on in relief for the Tigers, trying to find his form _ and his confidence _ in a low-leverage situation. It didn’t work. Angel Pagan’s double and Marco Scutaro’s RBI single made it 7-1 Giants. Sandoval singled and Buster Posey added a run-scoring single to make it 8-1.

That’s it for Valverde. He’s out of the game. Hard to imagine manager Jim Leyland will turn to him the next time the Tigers have a save situation.

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Tim Lincecum struck out his first three batters in relief of Barry Zito and then got a groundout to end the seventh inning. San Francisco is six outs from winning Game 1.

FOX showed a graphic that said Lincecum’s outing marked the first time one Cy Young Award winner relieved another in the World Series since Baltimore’s Jim Palmer came in for Mike Flanagan in 1983 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

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