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Pablo Sandoval just homered again: Quick hits

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Pablo Sandoval did this a lot in Game 1. (AP)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants barged to an authoritative 1-0 lead in the 2012 World Series by thumping Detroit by a score of 8-3. Now let us pass out our hero's terribly impressive ribbon and our goat's totally embarrassing set of horns …

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Hero: Pablo Sandoval. While Barry Zito -- with his mound- and plate-work -- has a compelling case for hero status, we'll go with the Panda. After all, the forces of history compel us. As you may have heard, for just the fifth time in the annals of MLB, a player hit three home runs in a single World Series game. That player was Sandoval. In fact, he achieved that feat in his first three plate appearances of the night. In doing so, he joined the elite company of Babe Ruth (twice), Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols. Fun fact: Take away those three homers, and he still batted 1.000 for the night (seventh-inning single). Fun fact no. 2: In order for Sandoval to hit for the cycle, you'd have to take away three total bases from his Game 1 total.

Goat: There's no getting around the depths of Justin Verlander's start in Game 1. He lasted just 4.0 innings, and over that brief span he gave up five runs on six hits and two homers. The Giants worked him over for 98 pitches. Most agonizing for Verlander and the Tigers is that all of the runs he allowed came with two outs.

Turning point: Zito showed some signs of vulnerability in the first when he yielded a single to Omar Infante and then walked Miguel Cabrera. In the second, though, he set the Tigers down in order with a strikeout and a pair of weak ground-outs. It took him just 13 pitches. At that point, Zito seemed settled in, which, it turned out, he was. Vintage Zito plus laboring Verlander equaled trouble for Detroit.

It was over when: Given Zito's effectiveness on a cool night in run-suppressing AT&T Park and given the shutdown chops of the San Fran bullpen, it was over in the third when the Panda's second bomb of the might made it 4-0. The Tigers were done. Sandoval was not.

Next: Thursday's Game 2, back at AT&T Park, begins at 8:00 pm ET.

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