The much-ballyhooed World Series pitching matchup between Rangers left-hander Cliff Lee and Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum never did happen last night.
By the time the sixth inning was over, both had hit the showers, Lee battered by a six-run fifth that propelled the Giants to an 11-7 Game 1 victory, Lincecum bruised physically by two batted balls off his leg.
Juan Uribe’s majestic three-run shot deep into the left center stands off reliever Darren O’Day highlighted the Giants’ biggest World Series single-inning explosion since 1937.
But Lee, charged with six earned runs during his 42⁄3 innings, was in trouble well before the 11th and last batter of that inning stepped into the box. He had already blown an early 2-0 lead, and had allowed three fifth-inning runs — two with two out — on RBI hits by Freddy Sanchez, Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff.
Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young winner, followed Lee out after allowing sixth-inning runs on hits by Bengie Molina and David Murphy. He also took a shot off his right hamstring that inning from Mitch Moreland. Vladimir Guerrero knocked one off his lower leg in the first. The Rangers brought in three runs in ninth inning before closer Brian Wilson got Ian Kinsler on a game-ending popout.
Two of the Rangers’ three errors produced two runs. The Giants rapped out six doubles among their 14 hits, with Sanchez accounting for three of them
in a 4-for-5, three-RBI outing.
Whether hanging a loss on the Rangers’ formerly unbeaten (7-0) postseason ace gives the Giants a lasting boost remains to be seen. But they could not have sent a stronger message in the first of possibly three meetings with Lee.