SAN FRANCISCO —
Pujols homered three times last year, Jackson accomplished the feat in 1977 and Ruth did it in 1926 and again in 1928.
For good measure, Sandoval lined a single his last time up.
From start to finish, it was basically a perfect game by the Giants. Coming off a Game 7 win over St. Louis on Monday night, they looked totally fresh.
Zito shut out the Tigers until Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera hit an RBI single in the sixth, and Tim Lincecum came out of the bullpen to prevent further damage.
NL championship series MVP Marco Scutaro hit RBI singles after doubles by Angel Pagan. NL batting champion Buster Posey contributed two hits and left fielder Gregor Blanco made diving catches to rob Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Game 2 is Thursday night, with Doug Fister starting for the Tigers against Madison Bumgarner.
The Tigers seemed out of sync in their first game following a five-game layoff. That was an issue in 2006, too, when Verlander and his teammates had nearly a week off before getting wiped out by the Cardinals.
ALCS MVP Delmon Young failed to run after a tapper in front of the plate that the Giants turned into a double play. The Giants, meanwhile, kept getting good bounces, with Pagan hitting a double that hopped off the third-base bag.
Pitching in San Francisco for the first time since 2008, Verlander scuffed at the rubber while warming up for the first inning, pulled off his glove after badly overthrowing a curve and kept taking deep breaths. He hardly resembled the guy who was 3-0 with an 0.74 ERA in three playoff starts this year.
Ever since two poor outings in the 2006 Series against St. Louis — punctuated by two throwing errors — Verlander has worked hard to harness his emotions and 100 mph in the early going.
Verlander was trying to settle in when Sandoval tagged him, pouncing on an 0-2 fastball and lining it into the front row over the center-field wall. Quite a start for the team that finished last in the majors in home runs.