Mitch Moreland’s first career home run against a left-handed pitcher helped the Texas Rangers to their first-ever win in a World Series game.
Moreland, a 25-year-old rookie first baseman, hit a three-run homer last night as Texas beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2 after dropping the first two contests in the best-of-seven series.
“I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit,” Moreland said in a televised post-game interview. “I fouled off a few good pitches, finally got a pitch I could drive and put a good swing on it.”
Colby Lewis pitched 7 2/3 innings for the Rangers, allowing two solo home runs, and Josh Hamilton added a solo shot off of Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
Nelson Cruz led off the bottom of the second inning with a double off the center-field wall. Bengie Molina later drew a two-out walk before Moreland battled Sanchez over a nine-pitch at-bat, sending the final offering over the right-field wall.
With Games 3 through 5 in the American League ballpark, the designated-hitter rule was in effect, leaving Moreland to bat in the No. 9 position that would likely be occupied by a pitcher in a National League stadium.
“That’s the American League, and their guy got a big hit,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said at a postgame news conference. “That’s what you deal with with the DH.”
The left-handed batting Moreland hit nine home runs during the regular season, none in his 23 plate appearances against lefties.
“That was a huge home run for us tonight,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said at a postgame news conference. “It put us on the board, gave us a little bit of breathing room and Colby Lewis took it from there.”
Lewis, who beat the New York Yankees twice in the American League Championship Series, raised his record this postseason to 3-0.
“It’s your job; you’ve got to go out and perform,” he said in a televised interview after the game. “We had to shut the door tonight, and I was fortunate to go out and command the strike zone and make the pitches when I needed to.”
The Giants are seeking their first World Series title since 1954, when they were playing in New York. The Rangers are playing in the World Series for the first time.
San Francisco scored 20 runs at AT&T Park to take a 2-0 series lead and managed two solo homers last night. Cody Ross hit a seventh-inning pitch by Lewis over the left-field fence for his fifth home run of the postseason, and Andres Torres added his first playoff homer in the eighth.
Lewis lasted 7 2/3 innings, allowing five hits while striking out six and walking two.
Sanchez, who was pulled after throwing just 50 pitches in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, lasted 4 2/3 innings and took the loss, giving up four earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts and just as many walks.
Rangers closer Neftali Feliz earned his first save of the postseason, striking out Pat Burrell, retiring Ross on a long fly ball and striking out Juan Uribe while reaching 99 miles per hour (159 kilometers per hour) on the radar gun to end the game in 2 hours, 51 minutes.
Burrell had four strikeouts in four plate appearances and is 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts in the series.
“My night wasn’t good,” the Giants left fielder said. “That’s not exactly how you draw it up in your pregame routine. It’s a bad time to struggle. There’s no way around it, I’m getting pitches to hit and just not doing anything with them.”
Bochy said he hadn’t decided whether to remove Burrell from the lineup for tonight’s Game 4, when San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner takes on the Rangers’ Tommy Hunter.
“Their guy threw well,” Bochy said. “We had a few guys that were off tonight but you give their pitcher credit. He threw a great ballgame.”