The Rays Tank: Kung Fu Fighting

Doug Pensinger

Don't care how many people used this headline this morning. It's worth it.

Pablo Sandoval. The Kung Fu Panda. The man who only hit 12 home runs during the regular season, went yard three at-bats in a row last night, giving the Giants an historic performance in Game 1 of the World Series.

Only four men have ever hit three homeruns in the same game during the World Series: Babe Ruth (twice), Albert Pujols and Reggie Jackson (once each), and now Pablo Sandoval - the second heaviest to do so (Babe Ruth beat him by 11 pounds).

What a sweet swing:

Pablohr_medium

Justin Verlander was 7-0 with a 0.69 ERA in his last seven starts, be he has now lost all three World Series appearances of his career, hurling 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K on the evening. With the Giants up 6-1, Jim Leyland handed the ball to his slumping closer Jose Valverde - who gave up two more runs, including a single to Kung Fu Panda (4-for-4).

Side Note: You're down seven runs in Game 1 of the World Series, who do you turn to? If you're Leyland, you call on former Rays fireman Joaquin Benoit... the best arm in the pen. Let's all collectively shake our head and move on.

Barry Zito somehow limited the damage to one run in 6.2 IP before handing the ball to Tim Lincecum. The other Cy Young player in their rotation struck out five of seven batters faced, retiring the other two on ground outs. Jose Mijares would eventually closed the door; two runs scored for Detroit with a home run bouncing off Angel Pagan's glove before the final out, but let's not distract from the stellar grab Pagan made in the third inning. Giants win 8-3, notching their first series lead this post season.

Doug Fister will face redemption-seeking Madison Bumgarner in AT&T Park at 8:00 for Game 2.

LINKS:

- The only other player to hit multiple homeruns off Justin Verlander this year? Desmond Jennings.

- MLBTR discusses the Rays players up for arbitration in the coming year, including a prediction for David Price at $9.5M. What's your prediction of Price's contract next year? He was paid $4.35M in 2012. (Also from MLBTR, Sam Fuld is a Super 2.)

- Follow the journey of Phil Coke with Jonah Keri.

- Get to know the latest prospect out of Japan, high school gun slinger Shohei Otani.

- Dave Cameron looks at how Mike Matheny lost Game 7 to the Giants. You can add some varying perspective from Viva El Birdos and this kid.

- Doritos Locos Update: There were NO stolen bases in Game 1. Where you at, Prince Fielder!?

- Finally, to better facilitate a baseball community, we are re-booting the Community Guidelines here at DRB - starting today. You can read a brief letter from the editor here, and the full guidelines here.

Have a Rays-related question to ask the DRaysBay writing staff? Send an e-mail with your question to draysbaymailbag@gmail.com.

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