Maybe there is magic inside AT&T Park

October 25, 2012, 5:32 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- To the outside world it could be considered a strange or inexplicable turn of events. In San Francisco, it's called a routine double. Angel Pagan's two-out grounder looked like an easy out until it ricocheted off the third base bag into left field for a double. All Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander could do was watch in disbelief. "How 'bout it?" Verlander said. The fans at AT&T Park weren't surprised. They've seen this before. It's Brooks Conrad booting balls all over the infield in the NLDS in 2010. An Ian Kinsler home run that inexplicably bounces off the very top of the outfield wall and somehow back into play in the World Series in 2010. Or Hunter Pence getting a bases-clearing broken bat hit that gets misdirected off a bat shard several times as it is guided safely through the infield in Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS. This is just what the Giants do in late October. If there are indeed baseball gods, then they are probably reclining on some fluffy clouds wearing neon orange togas and panda hats. That Pagan "double" led to an RBI single from Marco Scutaro to make the game 2-0. Then Pablo Sandoval clubbed his second home run of the game, a two-run shot to make it 4-0. Three runs, all coming after what could have been the third out in the third inning. "Yeah, I was like 'uh oh,'" Cabrera said. "Anything can happen right now. It's kind of a weird game." "It's not weird, we got a big play like that last year against Texas," Delmon Young said. "The bags are there and you can't do anything about it."What makes the turn of events even more improbable is that they came with Tigers' ace on the mound. Here's a guy that had won all three of his postseason starts this year. In the 2012 playoffs he had allowed just two runs in 24 13 innings. He allowed five runs in four innings Wednesday night -- his shortest start since Oct. 8, 2011 in the ALCS. Oh, and then there was the 2-4 double play that immediately followed. As if the events of the third inning weren't mind-bending enough. With Delmon Young batting, he swung at a ball that bounced right in front of home plate. Buster Posey grabbed it and fired it to second base for a double play.
When Al Alburquerque entered the game in the fifth inning, those same baseball gods sat up in their seats. Sandoval stepped to the plate and tagged his third homer of the game, a historical shot off the reliever who caught and kissed the ball that he fielded off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes in the American League Division Series. It was apparent that karma would eventually catch up to Alburquerque and it did in a big way. Sandoval's third homer in a single World Series game put him on a list with Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols.NEWS: Sandoval joins rare list with three-HR World Series game
"Unbelievable, unbelievable," Cabrera said of Sandoval. "You've got to give him a lot of credit."
The Tigers are down 1-0 in the World Series after their strange 8-3 loss. Maybe the game wasn't as goofy as it seemed. The Tigers were rusty coming off five days of rest while the Giants had just finished a seven-game series.