The Giants got a strong start from Barry Zito and an offensive explosion led by Pablo Sandoval, defeating Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Verlander had allowed just two runs in 24⅓ postseason innings coming into Game 1, but allowed five runs over just four innings on Wednesday.
Sandoval got the Giants on the board early with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning. It was a sign of things to come, as Sandoval finished the game with three home runs. His two-run homer in the third inning gave the Giants a 4-0 lead. He hit his third of the game just two innings later, a solo shot off of Al Alburquerque. Sandoval finished the game 4-4 with four RBI.
While Verlander struggled, Zito was excellent for the second straight start. After saving the Giants' season with 7⅔ shutout innings in Game 5 of the NLCS, Zito allowed one run over 5⅔ innings in Game 1. He allowed just six hits and kept the Tigers off the scoreboard until the sixth inning.
Tim Lincecum replaced Zito and pitched 2⅓ perfect innings of relief. Lincecum did not allow a base runner, striking out five batters. He has been excellent in relief during the postseason and has now allowed just one run over 10⅔ relief innings while striking out 14. The Tigers scored two runs off of George Kontos in the ninth inning to cut the lead to 8-3.
The series will continue with Game 2 on Thursday. Madison Bumgarner will start for the Giants while Doug Fister will get the start for Detroit.