Leyland relieved after 'scary moment'
SAN FRANCISCO As Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland reached the mound in the second inning Thursday night, his concern began to ebb.
Pitcher Doug Fister, who had just been struck on the head by a line drive, was answering questions from the Tigers' trainer and "was right on with everything," Leyland said.
With two outs, the Giants' Gregor Blanco hit a line drive that ricocheted off Fister's head into center field for a single. The Tigers right-hander popped up immediately as Leyland and the trainer came out to check on him, threw one warmup pitch and stayed in.
"I was scared to death when it happened," Leyland said. "I didn't really realize exactly how it hit him. It kind of grazed, I want to say, the side of his head, the back of his head. It was a scary moment, obviously, but he was fine."
The play briefly called to mind A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy being struck on the head by a line drive in September, necessitating emergency brain surgery.
Fister pitched six innings, allowing one run on four hits in the Giants' 2-0 win over the Tigers.
It's safe to say a few people congratulated Pablo Sandoval after he became the fourth player in major league history to homer three times in a World Series game during Game 1 on Wednesday night.
"Three hundred text messages, man," Sandoval said Thursday. "All my friends back home, family. Just excited to be part of this."
Sandoval has six homers in the playoffs, half his total for the regular season. Hitting coach Hensley Meulens noted that Sandoval played only 108 games because of injury and needed time to regain strength in his left hand after having surgery to remove the hamate bone in May.
Sandoval had the same surgery last year on the right hand. "I know that strength is going to come back," he said. "So it came back at the right time."
It wasn't only family and friends admiring Sandoval's achievement. Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder reportedly said that while he "didn't like it," the home runs were "a cool sight to see on this scale." Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, meanwhile, tweeted: "Wow! That's all I can say. #panda."
Sandoval, who played with Kemp in the All-Star Game and said they have worked out together in Arizona, appreciated the sentiment.
Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro went 0 for 4 in Game 2 to end his playoff hitting streak at 11 games, a franchise record for a single postseason. Scutaro is tied for the longest overall postseason hitting streak in Giants history with Irish Meusel (1921-22).
The Giants' 8-3 win in Game 1 set a new low TV rating for the opening game of a World Series, according to the Associated Press. Fox said the game received a 7.6 rating and 12 share, meaning it was seen by 12.2 million viewers, the AP reported.