Touching tribute pulls at Molina's heartstrings

Touching tribute pulls at Molina's heartstrings

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have the catcher they want in Buster Posey, but that doesn't mean they don't still love Bengie Molina.

Molina admitted the fans' warm reception during player introductions before Wednesday night's Game 1 of the World Series nearly brought tears to his eyes. Molina did his best to try to make Giants fans cry by going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI, and throwing out a runner on a steal attempt. However, the home fans left happy after an 11-7 San Francisco victory.


But Molina, who was acquired by the Rangers from the Giants on July 1, accounted for himself well on a night that began with a touching tribute.

"I think I didn't cry because there were too many people in the stands," Molina said. "It would have been embarrassing.

"It was a great feeling, a great touch. I wasn't expecting that at all."

Of course, the Giants are happy with the way the trade turned out, since dealing Molina made room for Posey. The rookie, an offensive sensation who also made tremendous strides defensively in handling a stellar pitching staff, went 1-for-5 with an RBI single in Game 1 and will continue to be a presence in the middle of San Francisco's lineup.

In the World Series, it's advantage Giants after one game. But the deal continues to be a plus for both sides.

Molina singled off Giants starter Tim Lincecum to open the second inning and scored on starting pitcher Cliff Lee's double for a 2-0 Rangers lead. Molina doubled to left off Lincecum in the sixth to drive in Ian Kinsler from first base and scored on David Murphy's single.

It was an odd feeling for Molina, who joined the Giants in 2007 -- the year Lincecum joined the club. Molina caught Lincecum through National League Cy Young Award performances in '08 and '09, and he was the main guy behind the plate to start this season.

"It was very tough," Molina said. "I didn't know what to expect. Obviously, I wasn't trying to think too much."

The warm reception started long before introductions. Molina felt the love when visiting with ex-teammates on the field during batting practice.

"Obviously, you've got to really concentrate on what we're here for, but at the same time, it's very emotional, very nice to say hi and hear some of the things they said to me," Molina said.

With the pleasantries and Game 1 out of the way, Molina focused on his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to help Lee find his form. Lee yielded seven runs (six earned) over 4 2/3 innings. It was by far the worst career postseason outing for Lee, who had gone at least seven innings in all of his previous postseason starts.

Now, Molina is concentrating on helping the Rangers rebound, the way they did after losing the American League Championship Series opener to the Yankees.

"I don't think it should be tough," Molina said. "It was just a loss, and we have to find ourselves in the next game."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @harding_at_mlb on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.