Aces Face Off Again With Giants On The Brink Of Title
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ARLINGTON, Texas (CBS / AP) — Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants ended Cliff Lee’s amazing run of postseason dominance in Game 1 of the World Series. If Lincecum beats Lee again, the franchise will earn its first championship in 56 years.
Lincecum, nicknamed “The Freak,” will try to help bring the first World Series title back to the Bay Area for the Giants on Monday night in Game 5 against Lee and the Texas Rangers.
These aces met in Game 1 at AT&T Park on Wednesday, and Lee entered the contest 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in eight career postseason starts. The Rangers ace allowed seven runs over 4 2-3 innings in an 11-7 loss after yielding 12 runs over his previous 64 1-3 postseason innings.
“This time, I get a chance to redeem myself against the team that actually put it to me pretty good last time,” Lee said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been working hard and ready for – it’s basically the last start of the season for me – and I want to do everything I can to help this team win the World Series.”
Lincecum wasn’t at his best, but was good enough to earn the victory. He gave up four runs over 5 2-3 innings, improving to 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA in four postseason starts.
The two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner expects to be better in his second chance against Texas.
“I think just the experience of being there is the big help,” Lincecum said. “You know, just going through the lineup again knowing that you’re pitching in another World Series game, just eases the tension there. But yeah, like I said, just try to approach it, just try to keep my nerves together and keep poised.”
Lincecum will have a tough time duplicating the effort of teammate Madison Bumgarner in Sunday’s 4-0 victory. Bumgarner dominated for eight innings, yielding three hits and striking out six as he and Buster Posey became the first rookie battery to start in the World Series since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra for the Yankees in 1947.
The Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, four years after their last title in New York. They lost their three previous World Series appearances in the Bay Area, getting within six outs of the title eight years ago against the Anaheim Angels.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy made the right choice at designated hitter Sunday as Aubrey Huff hit a two-run homer to open the scoring in the third inning. Posey added his first homer of the postseason in the eighth.
“We’ve got a big challenge tomorrow with Cliff Lee,” Huff said. “We got him last game, but you know he’s going to come out and really want to get us.”
The Giants took advantage of numerous mistakes by Lee in the opener. Freddy Sanchez doubled all three times in Game 1 against the left-hander, who acknowledged he was far too hittable.
“I was throwing balls over the middle of the plate, and they did a really good job swinging the bat and working the count and getting themselves in good positions to hit,” Lee said. “Yeah, that’s what happens, especially at this level.”
This will be the lone start of the postseason at home for Lee, who went 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA in seven starts in Arlington with Texas after being acquired from Seattle. The Rangers are confident that Lee will bounce back and help keep the season alive.
“I certainly hope he’ll do better tomorrow,” manager Ron Washington said. “We feel pretty good about him being out there tomorrow. Once again, we’ve got to put some runs on the board.”
Bochy said that slumping Pat Burrell will return to the lineup after sitting out Game 4. Burrell is 0 for 9 with eight strikeouts in the World Series, and has 19 strikeouts in 38 postseason at-bats.
The left fielder was left out Sunday partly because the Rangers started right-hander Tommy Hunter. Burrell drew a key walk off Lee in a six-run fifth inning in Game 1.
“I’m just not feeling comfortable at the plate,” Burrell said. “When you’re not feeling comfortable, it’s hard to get hits.”
While Bochy was constantly being asked about Burrell before, it’s Washington now who is fielding questions about his struggling lineup. The Rangers, who lost 9-0 in Game 2 at San Francisco, are the first team to be shut out twice in a World Series since the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers failed to score in the last three games while being swept by Baltimore.
“They’ve done a great job,” Washington said. “We’ve got to figure out some ways to put some runs on the board against them.”
Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero combined for seven hitless at-bats Sunday. Hamilton is 2 for 16 in the World Series while Guerrero is 1 for 10.
(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)