- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Justin Verlander is done after four innings and 98 pitches. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the fifth with the Tigers trailing the Giants 5-0.

Verlander threw 66 of those pitches in his final two innings. The Giants really put some tough at-bats on him and made him work hard.

Pablo Sandoval became the fifth player to hit two homers in a game off Verlander, according to STATS LLC.


Unbelievable. Opposing pitcher Barry Zito slaps an RBI single to left field off Verlander with two outs in the fourth inning to give the Giants a 5-0 cushion.

Delmon Young’s attempted throw to the plate hit the ground before it even reached the infield.

Wonder what kind of odds you could have gotten in Vegas on Verlander giving up a run-scoring hit to a pitcher?

Zito had a nice bunt single for an RBI in his previous start, Game 5 of the NLCS in St. Louis. Giants pitchers have an RBI in four straight postseason games.


Young fails to run on a tapper right in front of the plate, so Giants catcher Buster Posey quickly tags him and throws to second for an easy double play in the fourth. Prince Fielder had opened the inning with a single.

Giants starter Barry Zito has thrown four scoreless innings, outpitching Justin Verlander to this point with San Francisco jumping out to a 5-0 lead.

The Giants look sharp, the Tigers don’t. Remember, the Tigers had five days off after sweeping the New York Yankees in the ALCS.


The Giants are getting the good bounces so far. Angel Pagan hit a chopper toward third base that hit the corner of the bag and kicked into shallow left field for a two-out double in the third inning.

Red-hot Marco Scutaro follows with an RBI single to center on a 3-2 curveball and Pablo Sandoval hits his second homer of the game to make it 4-0 Giants.


Both of Sandoval’s homers came on 95 mph fastballs from Justin Verlander. The second one was an outer-half fastball that Sandoval sent to the opposite field and over the left-field fence.

FOX shows Verlander mouthing “Wow” as the ball cleared the wall. Verlander had allowed a total of two runs in his first three postseason starts this year before giving up four runs in the first three innings tonight.


Nobody can get Scutaro out lately. The NLCS MVP batted .500 against the Cardinals, tying an LCS record with 14 hits. Big hit already tonight, too.


FOX shows zany Barry Zito talking to himself in the dugout after he struck out against Verlander.

It was kind of fun watching Zito try to hit against a guy with such nasty stuff. Zito watched a two-strike curveball break low before swinging over the top of an off-speed pitch for strike three.

The Giants have won Zito’s last 13 starts, the longest active streak in baseball.


That’s why Gregor Blanco is out there.

The defensive whiz just made a diving catch in left field to rob Miguel Cabrera of a hit with a runner on in the third inning. Cabrera put a good swing on the ball, just didn’t get it up in the air. Hard line drive. Good fortune for Giants starter Barry Zito.

Blanco made a spectacular catch in right-center to save Matt Cain’s perfect game in June. He’s an outstanding defender in the outfield, and we just saw why he starts for San Francisco.


So far, Zito has the Tigers off stride a bit. He’s been able to get inside on the right-handers and he’s using all his pitches. Getting groundballs and keeping the ball off the barrel of the bat.

Justin Verlander threw a nasty curve to get Buster Posey on a called third strike to end the first inning. Then he got Hunter Pence to wave at a slider for strike three to start the second. The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner appears to be settling in, finding his breaking ball.

This is the fourth time that Cy Young winners have squared off in Game 1 of the World Series. Zito won his AL Cy Young Award with Oakland 10 years ago. The guys on FOX said that’s the longest gap for a pitcher between winning the Cy Young and making his first World Series start.


It’s the All-Star game revisited! Pablo Sandoval hit a bases-loaded triple off Verlander in the first inning of the All-Star game in Kansas City back in July.

Now, Sandoval has a World Series homer off the Tigers‘ ace.

Verlander struggled through a five-run first inning in the All-Star game, throwing 35 pitches. The National League won 8-0, giving the Giants home-field advantage in this World Series.

Turns out, Verlander has a nemesis.


Sandoval’s homer was the first all season off Verlander on an 0-2 pitch, FOX says.

The Giants ranked last in the majors this year with 103 home runs.


Pablo Sandoval hits a solo homer to center off Justin Verlander on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Giants lead 1-0.

High fastball, 95 mph. Wow! Amazing that he was able to get on top of that pitch. Quick hands. Very talented hitter.

Barry Zito’s average fastball velocity ranks among the slowest in the majors, and he’s not throwing any harder to start the World Series. The veteran lefty was hitting 84-85 mph on the radar gun, but he hit his spots when he needed to in the first inning.

Omar Infante singled with one out and Zito walked Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera on a close 3-2 pitch. With two runners on, Prince Fielder popped out on a tough pitch down and away, and ALCS MVP Delmon Young grounded into a force play on a down-and-in breaking ball.

Clutch pitching by Zito against the dangerous middle of the Detroit lineup. You don’t want to fall behind early against Verlander.

Verlander’s first three pitches were 94 mph fastballs. He looks as though he’s trying to settle himself down a bit and calm his emotions as he fiddles with his glove and the rubber.


Here we go! All set for baseball’s 108th World Series.

Game 1 is tonight in San Francisco, with the NL champion Giants hosting Justin Verlander and the AL champion Detroit Tigers. First pitch about 15 minutes away.

Barry Zito on the mound for the Giants.

It’s a late afternoon start on the West Coast, so it will be interesting to see if early shadows on the field are a factor. If so, they could make it awfully tough for the Giants to catch up with Verlander’s heat.

Gerry Davis is the plate umpire. Generally, the book on him is that he has a fairly tight strike zone. Tougher on pitchers.

That might make things more difficult for Zito. He throws a lot of soft stuff and may need to get a few calls around the corners.

With his team facing a left-hander, Tigers manager Jim Leyland moved second baseman Omar Infante up to No. 2 in the lineup and dropped catcher Alex Avila to eighth.

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