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Giants turn tables on Lee with big fifth frame

Giants turn tables on Lee with big fifth

SAN FRANCISCO -- For a team that at times has spread six runs over an entire series, the Giants picked a fine time to put up a six-spot in one inning on Wednesday night.

With the Rangers' Cliff Lee, only the most dominant postseason pitcher of the last few years, on the mound in Game 1 of the World Series, the Giants took a rare trip on the merry-go-round in the fifth to set the stage for an 11-7 victory in the opener.

San Francisco racked up the six runs to break open a tie game, the big blow coming on a three-run homer by Juan Uribe off Darren O'Day, for the biggest inning by a Giants team in the World Series since they scored six in the second of Game 4 of the 1937 Fall Classic.

And while it only seemed that long to the players who have been trying to post a big number like they did on Wednesday, an 11-batter frame that knocked Lee out of the game came as a relief to the men swinging the bats.

"It was a big weight off our shoulders, that's for sure," said Cody Ross, whose RBI single and another by Aubrey Huff preceded Uribe's blast. "We're used to playing low-scoring games, but when we can string some hits together like that, especially on this stage, it really takes the pressure off."

And, in turn, it put the pressure on the Rangers -- not only did it put them in a hole they wouldn't dig out of, but it came against their ace, Lee, who had allowed only two runs this postseason before Game 1.

In reality, the fifth was just part of the Giants' approach against Lee, which was to go after the strike-throwing machine.

"My hat goes off to our guys," Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens said. "They stuck to our plan today by being aggressive and being ready for any mistakes he made."

Said Lee, who threw 29 of his 104 pitches in the fifth: "They kept coming and put together several hits in a row. I threw a ton of pitches in the fifth inning. I have to a better job of damage control there. Seven at-bats, six runs ... that's unacceptable."

The fifth-inning outburst gave San Francisco an 8-2 lead heading into the sixth, the last inning for starter Tim Lincecum. The Giants are now 39-0 for Lincecum's career when they score four or more runs in support of him, and 46-3 when they score at least three.

"The pitching has kept us in there all year long. It's about time we showed up," Huff said.

The fateful fifth inning began with Lincecum grounding out, but it quickly turned into a productive inning for San Francisco as leadoff man Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez hit back-to-back doubles to give the Giants a one-run lead. With his extra-base hit to right-center, Sanchez became the first player in World Series history to hit doubles in his first three at-bats, and the 10th to double three times in a World Series game.

Overwhelming output
Most runs in an inning by the Giants in a World Series game
Date Game Opp. Inning Runs
10/7/21 WS 3 NYY Seventh 8
10/27/10 WS 1 TEX Fifth 6
10/9/37 WS 4 NYY Second 6
10/15/12 WS 7 BOS First 6

After Buster Posey struck out, a walk to Pat Burrell and consecutive singles by Ross and Huff knocked Lee out of the game. Huff, the Giants' left-handed-hitting first baseman, had two hits against Lee, who had allowed just two hits in 25 at-bats to left-handers in his first three outings this postseason.

As far as Meulens was concerned, none of the five hits in the inning was the biggest at-bat of the frame.

"I think the biggest at-bat was Pat Burrell's at-bat, where he gets a walk and keeps the line moving, gets on base with two outs," he said. "That gives Cody a chance to get a big hit and then Huff behind him, and then obviously Uribe with the big blast."

O'Day surrendered the 2-0 homer into the left-field bleachers by Uribe, who also delivered the game-winning homer in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.

The Giants added on more runs later, and they needed a little extra cushion in the end. Providing that cushion was a huge step for a San Francisco offense that has been living on the edge most of the season and into the postseason.

Ultimately, the fifth inning was a rewarding experience for what has amounted to a supporting cast to the Giants' stellar pitching staff.

"Our guys have been resilient all year," Meulens said. "It's really good to see them have a big game like this and a big moment like this."

Said Giants manager Bruce Bochy: "It is something that I think the hitters should feel good about, especially when you're going against a guy who's probably the hottest pitcher in the postseason."

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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