One night after Pablo Sandoval put his name in the record book, the San Francisco Giants attempt to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series as they host the Detroit Tigers at AT&T Park on Thursday.
Sandoval belted a career-high three home runs, including two off reigning American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, and added a single to complete a 4-for-4 performance in San Francisco's 8-3 triumph in the Series opener Tuesday. Sandoval joined Babe Ruth (1926 and 1928), Reggie Jackson (1977) and Albert Pujols (2011) as the only players to hit three homers in a World Series game.
National League Championship Series MVP Marco Scutaro continued his torrid pace, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. After going 0-for-8 over his first two playoff games, Scutaro has hit safely in each of his last 11 contests and collected two or more hits in seven of his last eight. Jhonny Peralta went deep for Detroit, giving him three home runs in his last two games after belting 13 over his previous 158 contests - including the playoffs.
Tigers reliever Jose Valverde, who had not pitched since blowing a save opportunity in the ALCS opener against the New York Yankees, continued to struggle as he surrendered two runs and four hits while retiring one of the five batters he faced. Meanwhile, San Francisco's Tim Lincecum continued to excel in a relief role, recording five strikeouts in 2 1/3 perfect innings. Lincecum has yielded one run over 10 2/3 frames in four appearances out of the bullpen this postseason.
Pitching matchup: Tigers RH Doug Fister (0-0, 1.35 ERA) vs. Giants LH Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 11.25)
Fister has not pitched since scattering six hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees in the opener of the ALCS on Oct. 13. The 28-year-old settled for a no-decision, as he did versus the Oakland Athletics in Game Two of the AL Division Series, when he yielded two runs and six hits in seven frames. Fister, who went 4-7 in 13 road starts during the regular season, will be facing San Francisco for the first time in his career.
Bumgarner has been inactive nearly as long as Fister, last pitching in the opener of the NLCS against St. Louis on Oct. 14, when he was tagged for six runs and eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old also did not fare well versus Cincinnati in the NLDS as he surrendered four runs over 4 1/3 frames in a Game Two loss. Bumgarner, who went 10-3 in 15 starts at home in the regular season, did not figure in the decision in his only career start against the Tigers on July 1, 2011 despite allowing only one run in 7 1/3 innings at Detroit.
Fister has not won since tossing his first career shutout against Minnesota on Sept. 22, going 0-1 in four starts despite allowing three runs or less in each outing.
The winner of Game One has gone on to capture the World Series eight of the last nine years.
San Francisco's starting pitchers have allowed a total of two runs over 26 innings in the club's last four games.