The San Francisco Giants combined strong offense with stellar pitching to win Game 1 of the World Series today, October 21 and beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1.
The Giants started off strong, jumping on Royals’ starter James Shields early. San Francisco put three runs up in the top of the first, punctuated by a two-run home run to dead center by right fielder Hunter Pence.
The Giants added on two in the fourth on an RBI single by designated hitter Michael Morse and a bases-loaded walk to center fielder Gregor Blanco. They then made it 7-0 by tacking on two more in the seventh. Blanco lead off with a walk, and came all the way around from first to score on a triple by second baseman Joe Panik. Two batters later, Panik scored on third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s single.
After two rounds of wild small ball where they had to scratch and claw for any small bit of offense, San Francisco reverted to a more steady approach, relying more on base hits than errors. They were lead by Pence, who had a double on top of his home run, and Sandoval, who went 2-5 with two hits, two RBI and a run scored. With his night, Sandoval extended his franchise-record streak of reaching base in 24 straight postseason games.
That was way more than enough for Giants’ starter Madison Bumgarner, who showed why he is considered the ace of the staff. His first few innings were good, but not great. In the third, he ended up in a situation with runners on second and third with no outs, and pitched his way out of the jam without conceding a run.
After that, he settled down and retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced. At no point for the rest of the game did the Royals look like they had any momentum at all. The sole blemish was a solo home run by Royals’ catcher Salvador Perez in the seventh.
Bumgarner finished with seven innings pitched, giving up one run on three hits and striking out five.
“He’s special,” Pence said. “He’s got that flair for the spectacular. He never makes it bigger than it is; he just gets out there and competes.”
Relievers Javier Lopez and Hunter Strickland came out of the bull pen to pitch the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Lopez gave up a single, but then forced Royals’ right fielder Nori Aoki to ground into a double play to get out of the inning. Strickland pitched a perfect ninth.
With the win, the Giants handed Kansas City its first loss of the postseason. San Francisco fans will be happy to know that in the past 11 World Series, the team that won Game 1 went on to win the series.
Game 2 of the series will be tomorrow at 5 p.m. in Kansas City. The Giants will bring out Jake Peavy to start and take on Royals’ rookie Yordano Ventura.