Pablo Sandoval makes World Series history as San Francisco Giants beat Detroit Tigers in Game 1
It’s a good thing the Giants signed Pablo Sandoval through his arbitration years. Otherwise, his representation would do a little name dropping at the Panda’s hearing.
As in Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols … and Pablo Sandoval.
The Panda became the fourth player in World Series history to hit three home runs in a game.
In one way, the Panda is in a class by himself. Sandoval became the first player to hit home runs in his first three plate appearances of a World Series game.
Sandoval came up with two outs in the first inning. He fell behind 0-2 to Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Verlander’s third pitch was a letter-high fastball that Sandoval hammered over the center-field fence 410 feet away.
In the third inning, Sandoval came up after the Giants had scored a run on an Angel Pagan double off the third base bag and a single by Marco Scutaro (yet again). This time, Sandoval worked ahead on the count 2-0, drawing a visit to the mound from Tigers’ pitching coach Jeff Jones (who I loved in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, by the way). On Verlander’s next pitch, a fastball on the outer half of the plate, Sandoval went the opposite way, smacking the ball over the left-field run for a two-run shot and a 4-0 lead. The shot drew a “wow” from Verlander.
In the fifth, Sandoval came up with one out against reliever Al Alburquerque. Sandoval threw his bat after swinging and missing on the first pitch. When the bat landed near the Tigers’ dugout, it broke the handle. The Panda fetched another bat, and after a ball in the dirt, he served the ball deep over the center-field wall.
Sandoval came up once more in the game and simply lined a single to center off Jose Valverde, ending a 4-for-4 night.
To look at Sandoval’s night another way: Last year, the Cardinals’ David Freese was the World Series MVP with 8 hits, 4 runs, 1 HR and 7 RBI for the series. On Wednesday night, Sandoval had 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 HR and 4 RBI.
The last three times a player had a three-homer game, his team went on to win the World Series. Ruth’s Yankees beat the Cardinals in 4 in 1928, Jackson’s Yankees beat the Dodgers in 6 in 1977 and Pujols’ Cardinals beat the Rangers in 7 in 2011.
Here’s a look at other three-homer games in the World Series.
1926 Game 4: Yankees 10, Cardinals 5
Oct. 6, 1926, at Sportsman Park, St. Louis
Ruth went 3 for 3 with two walks. He hit a solo off in the first and a solo in the third against Flint Rhem and a two-run shot in the sixth off Hi Bell.
1928 Game 4: Yankees 7, Cardinals 3
Oct. 9, 1928 at Sporstman Park, St. Louis
Ruth went 3 for 5. He hit solo homers off Bill Sherdel in the fourth and seventh innings and another solo off Pete Alexander in the eighth.
1977 Game 6: Yankees 8, Dodgers 4
Oct. 18, 1977, at Yankee Stadium
Jackson went 3 for 3 with one walk. He hit a two-run shot off Burt Hooton in the fourth inning, a two-run homer off Elias Sosa in the fifth and a solo shot off Charlie Hough in the eighth.
2011 Game 3: Cardinals 16, Rangers 7
Oct. 22, 2011, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Pujols went 5 for 6 with two singles. He hit all three of his homers off relievers — a three-run shot off Alexi Ogando in the sixth inning, a two-run homer off Mike Gonzalez in the seventh and a solo shot off Darren Oliver in the ninth.