Giants capture Game 1 of World Series from Tigers behind Pablo Sandoval, Barry Zito

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Pablo Sandoval went 4-for-4 with three home runs and Barry Zito yielded just one earned run in 5 2/3 innings as the Giants rocked and rolled to an 8-3 victory over the Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday evening in San Francisco.

Sandoval smashed a solo shot to right-center field in the bottom of the first inning, a two-run homer to left field in the bottom of the third and another solo bomb to right-center in the bottom of the fifth. He’s just the fourth player to homer three times in a World Series game — joining Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols — and his three-homer performance was only the second such feat in the 12-year history of AT&T Park (regular season games included).

This from a guy who had just 12 regular-season home runs this year and a mediocre .812 career postseason OPS before the night began. Sandoval is now batting .270/.386/.778 in these 2012 playoffs.

The Tigers, meanwhile, couldn’t figure out Zito and had an even tougher time against Tim Lincecum, who struck out five of the seven batters he faced in relief while surrendering no hits and zero walks.

Detroit starter Justin Verlander entered his Game 1 outing boasting a 0.74 ERA in 24-plus innings this postseason, but he was lifted in the top of the fifth inning after giving up five earned runs on six hits.

The Giants will look to go up 2-0 on Thursday night when Madison Bumgarner faces Doug Fister.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.