The light-hitting Giants did something that the Yankees and the Bay Rays this year and the Dodgers and the Yankees last year couldn't do. They took it to Cliff Lee and built an 8-2 lead before holding on to win the game 11-7. The hitting stars were Freddie Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Juan Uribe, who hit another amazing homer, this time a three-run job.
The Fan remembers thinking after Cliff Lee hit a double to help the Rangers mount a 2-0 lead that those Rangers, including Lee at second base, were feeling their oats a bit too strongly. With Lee on the mound and getting extra base hits, the Rangers thought that everything was going according to plan. But these Giants weren't buying it. They uncharacteristically got Lee into a high pitch count early (78 pitches by the fourth inning) and then pounced on him. By the time that Ron Washington came out and got Lee, the Rangers had scored three times and would get three more by the first batter that Darren O'Day faced in relief. That was the Uribe blast.
Gone is Lee's amazing run. Gone is his lofty post season ERA. Gone was the Rangers' swagger. But the Rangers showed their resolve and kept fighting. They knocked Lincecum out in the sixth and then scored three more times on the Giants' relievers. But here is where the Fan is puzzled.
The Rangers have a great offense right? They were down 8-4 and then Washington brings in two completely untested relievers. Mark Lowe wasn't even on the ALCS roster and who the heck is Michael Kirkman? Those-less-than-the-Rangers'-best relievers gave up three more runs to allow the Giants a gigantic amount of breathing room. Puzzling.
The Rangers defense also didn't help. Both players on the left side of the infield made errors and later in the game, Ian Kinsler again had a base running adventure and got himself thrown out at second after getting an infield single. And there was a lot of speculation about Vlad playing the outfield and sure enough, his presence out there was felt as he made two errors again helping the Giants' cause.
And so the Giants strike first. But then again, so did the Yankees in their series. But it wasn't against Cliff Lee. The Rangers are in a hole and these Giants that very few people believe in, are in the driver's seat...for now.