SAN FRANCISCO — Pablo Sandoval’s single set up the tying run in the fifth inning before he followed with a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth to send the San Francisco Giants surging past the Kansas City Royals 11-4 Saturday at a raucous AT&T Park.
Hunter Pence, eyes ablaze, had three hits, three RBIs and a terrific sliding catch in the ninth inning, and Joe Panik hit a two-run double in a four-run seventh. San Francisco piled on 16 hits in a game that took exactly 4 hours.
The series is level at two games each, ensuring the title will be decided at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium next week.
Madison Bumgarner tries to put the Giants ahead Sunday night when he starts against Royals ace James Shields in a rematch of the opener, won by the Giants 7-1.
Showcasing baseball at its exciting best, the game included a sprawling catch by Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson that left a pair of divots, and the first use of expanded video review in World Series history — which became a turning point. Jeff Kellogg’s safe call at second base was upheld on catcher Salvador Perez’s pickoff attempt of Joaquin Arias, helping the Giants build the pivotal rally.
Four fans in the first row near the Giants dugout wore giant — of course — panda heads as they cheered on 2012 World Series MVP Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda and a veteran of the team’s World Series titles in 2010 and 2012. The switch-hitter batted just .199 right-handed during the regular season but came up with his first two-hit game from that side of the plate since Aug. 25, emphatically tossing his bat after lining a single to center that put the Giants ahead.
The World Series outlook seemed far different in the third inning, when ominous, dark clouds formed over the bayside ballpark, and the Royals burst ahead 4-1 against Ryan Vogelsong with the help of the botched grounder. Orange-clad fans quieted, and there even were scattered boos.
But Yusmiero Petit settled the National League champions with three innings of scoreless, two-hit relief to improve to 3-0 in the postseason, and 11 different Giants had hits. Three of the 10 Giants in the No. 9 spot had hits; Petit singled to become the first Giants reliever to get a hit in the postseason in 78 years.
Royals manager Ned Yost stayed with starter Jason Vargas into the fifth inning, removing him after Panik’s leadoff double. Royals relievers had been 7-0 in the postseason and in Game 3 pitched four hitless innings to preserve a 3-2 win.
Jason Frasor and Danny Duffy combined to allow the tying run in a two-run fifth. And Brandon Finnegan, the first player to appear in the College World Series and World Series in the same year, allowed Sandoval’s two-run single and Brandon Belt’s RBI’s single in the sixth.
Photo via Kelley L. Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images