When compiling my list of five keys for the San Francisco Giants to defeat the Texas Rangers in the World Series, I suggested a productive series from second baseman Freddy Sanchez(notes) would go a long ways towards maximizing the Giants' offensive potential.
What a performance.
A historic performance at that. Sanchez became the first player ever with three doubles in his first three World Series at-bats.
"I didn't know that until someone told me," Sanchez said in his postgame press conference. "Obviously, for no one to have done that yet, I think it's something special. For just a little guy like me to go out there and be able to do it."
The first double in the first inning — a shattered bat flipper that somehow landed just inside the right-field foul line — was far from a thing of beauty. But it set a tone early that Cliff Lee was not invincible. Unfortunately, the inning didn't end well as he was doubled off second after a fine running catch by his counterpart Ian Kinsler(notes) in short right field.
The second double came on a 1-2 cutter in the third inning. That was a really solid piece of hitting as he hooked the Lee mistake just out of the reach of Michael Young(notes). It put San Francisco on the board, and put them in position to tie the game on a Buster Posey(notes) single one batter later.
"What a game he had offensively," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Sanchez. "You know, it just seemed like he got contagious there with his at-bats, and the confidence grew with the offense."
Four batters later, Cliff Lee would exit the game having allowed more hits to Sanchez than he did the entire New York Yankees lineup over eight innings in the ALCS.
Hey Freddy, how did you do that?
"I don't know," Sanchez told Ken Rosenthal after the game. "I tried to put the ball in play. That was my goal today was just try to put it in play. We know Lee throws a lot of strikes and tried to get ahead of him early and find some holes."
Sanchez would find every nook and cranny available to him at AT&T Park. He could have even had a fourth double in the eighth inning, but his hesitation while rounding first base caused the official scorer to rule Vladimir Guerrero's(notes) adventure near the right-field bullpen an error.
After the game, Sanchez talked about the validation he felt after missing all of spring training, all of April and most of May with an injury. But he'll have to continue hitting good pitching if he hopes to help carry his Giants through this series.