After the Giants and Cardinals combined for two home runs over their final three games of the National League Championship Series (with two of those games played in San Francisco), it was a bit hard to predict a home run barrage in Game 1 of the World Series. Especially with the Tigers throwing Justin Verlander.
Boy were we wrong! Let's get to those trots!
It all started so innocently. A shoulder-high fastball to Pablo Sandoval in the first inning on an 0-2 pitch, Pablo swings and hits a soft shot to center field that keeps going and going. The ball barely clears the centerfield wall and it's 1-0 San Francisco. Sandoval runs hard around the bases, likely because the ball never looked like a homer off the bat, possibly due to his excitement at actually hitting a home run in the World Series. The trot comes in at 20.45 seconds, essentially tying his quickest trot of the year of 20.42 seconds (video).
The Panda wasn't done. In his second at-bat of the game, this time with two runners on base, Sandoval takes a 2-0 slider down the middle to the other side of the stadium. Again, it barely clears the wall, but the three runs count all the same. Sandoval slows his trot down just a touch, but he still comes home in a very tidy 21.71 seconds (video).
In the fifth inning, this time batting against Al "I should've taken a left at" Albuquerque, Sandoval sent a 1-1 pitch back to center field. The ball landed in almost the exact same spot as the first-inning blast and, just like that, Pablo Sandoval had hit three home runs in his first three at-bats of the 2012 World Series. He could now be mentioned in the same breath as Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols. Amazingly, he hardly slowed down at all on historic tater trot #3, clocking in at 22.24 seconds (video), a full half-second quicker than his average trot for the year. I don't think anyone would have faulted Sandoval for enjoying the moment a little more on that last trot, but it didn't seem to matter.
In the ninth inning, the Tigers tried to put up a fight. Jhonny Peralta's two-run shot made it 8-3, but it wasn't enough. Peralta didn't have any trouble savoring the moment, however, trotting home in 24.97 seconds.
Jhonny Peralta.........24.97 Pablo Sandoval (NLCS)..23.44 Brandon Belt (NLCS)....22.64 Pablo Sandoval #3......22.24 Pablo Sandoval #2......21.71 Pablo Sandoval #1......20.45