Now we have a series.
The Texas Rangers rode a solid pitching performance by Colby Lewis, as well as home runs from Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton, to beat the San Francisco Giants, 4-2, in Game 3 of the World Series. It was the Rangers’ first Fall Classic victory in franchise history, and they now trail the Giants 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
After being shut out in Game 2 at AT&T Park, the Texas offense rallied early to the delight of 52,419 screaming fans at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Nelson Cruz doubled off Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez to start the bottom of the second. After two outs and a walk to catcher Bengie Molina, rookie Mitch Moreland stroked a three-run homer to right field to put Texas up 3-0. The No. 9 hitter in the Rangers’ lineup had an amazing nine-pitch at-bat before hitting his first career home run of a lefthander.
“I had a runner in scoring position so I knew he was going to try to pitch me tough,” Moreland said. “He threw some sliders and a couple of changeups in there. And I just tried to battle and get a good pitch to hit, and finally got a fastball.”
Much like San Francisco’s Matt Cain in the previous game, Lewis was the big story of Game 3. He allowed two earned runs in 7.2 innings, and the confident righthander never let the previously-hot hitting Giants ever mount a rally. Lewis came up big in a must-win situation, and he is now 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in four postseason starts.
"We had to go and shut the door on them," Lewis said. "I was fortunate to be able to command the strike zone and make pitches."
The Rangers took a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Josh Hamilton hit a prodigious blast into right-center stands. The AL batting champ entered that at-bat only 1-of-10 in the World Series, but his solo home run was his fifth long ball of the postseason. After a Vladimir Guerrero walk, Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy pulled Sanchez, who allowed four earned runs in 4.2 innings.
San Francisco’s Cody Ross continued his hot playoff hitting with a one-out home run in the top of the seventh to make the score 4-1. However, Lewis quickly got the next two outs to end the frame.
Andres Torres hit a solo shot with one out in the top of the eighth to cut the deficit to 4-2. After a Freddy Sanchez out, Lewis hit Aubrey Huff in the foot and was pulled from the game to a standing ovation. Reliever Darren O’Day induced a Buster Posey groundout to end any chance of a rally. Closer Neftali Feliz tossed perfect ninth to record his first save of the postseason.
"We're still down one game, but it's shifted," Hamilton said.
Texas will try to even the series Sunday night when Tommy Hunter takes the mound against San Francisco rookie Madison Bumgarner. There had been speculation that the Rangers might elect to throw ace Cliff Lee on short rest in Game 4, but they will instead go with Hunter. The big righthander has a 6.14 ERA in two postseason starts, while Bumgarner has a 3.55 ERA in three playoff appearances.