SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants turned the World Series opener into an extra long round of batting practice — against Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers.
Freddy Sanchez sprayed balls down the lines. Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff hit line drives up the middle. Juan Uribe launched a shot far, far over the wall.
So much for the unbeatable Mr. Lee.
The Giants battered him and the bullpen, with Sanchez hitting three doubles and sparking a six-run burst in an 11-7 romp Wednesday night that looked even more lopsided.
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Down early 2-0 to Lee, the Giants swung things in their favor in a hurry.
"We weren't too worried," Sanchez said. "We were actually surprisingly calm in there. We were able to get some things going. ... We still felt like we had a chance.
"We know he throws a lot of strikes," he said. "We know he's one of the best pitchers in the game, especially in the post-season. We just wanted to attack him early."
And they did. Lee threw first-pitch strikes to 15 hitters, seven of those hitters swung.
The Rangers did late damage, scoring three times in the ninth. Nelson Cruz hit a two-out, two-run double off Brian Wilson before the Fear the Beard closer finished it off.
Added up, the Giants improved to 10-0 against Texas at AT&T Park. Showers are in the forecast for Game 2 on Thursday night when Matt Cain and his 0.00 ERA in two playoff start takes on C.J. Wilson and the Rangers.
Sanchez finished with four of the Giants' 14 hits, which included six doubles. Right after Lee walked off the mound in the fifth, Uribe greeted sidearming reliever Darren O'Day with a three-run jolt that broke it open.
Lincecum struggled at the beginning, making a strange mental error, but settled down as the game progressed. The shaggy-haired ace walked off to a standing ovation in the sixth, his glove in his right hand and his head down.
The Rangers tagged him for eight hits, two of them shots off his left leg.
What happened to Lee was simply remarkable.
He came into the game with a 7-0 record in postseason play, one win shy of matching the record set by Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez for the best start in these big games.
But the lefty who loves to stick to his routine — and his messy hat — was all over the place on eight days' rest. He couldn't control his curve and when he did throw it over the plate, it was flat.
With the score 2-all, Andres Torres hit a one-out double in the Giants fifth. Sanchez, a former NL batting champion, followed with a sharp double and Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux was already on the way to the mound as the Rangers got the ball back to Lee.
There was no break for Lee, however. NL Championship Series MVP Ross lined an RBI single up the middle on the lefty's 100th pitch. That hit prompted Lee to slam his pitching hand into his glove, and Huff's RBI single to center finished him.