Moreland's blast helps Rangers cut Giants' World Series lead to 2-1
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Colby Lewis walked off the mound in the eighth inning with a two-run lead and a record crowd chanting his name.
Lewis allowed just two runs over 7 2/3 innings, striking out six and giving up five hits. Relievers Darren O'Day and Neftali Feliz got the final four outs -- and the Rangers had a power revival, hitting their first two home runs of the World Series -- to give Texas the 4-2 win in Game 3.
With the victory -- the first World Series game the Rangers have ever hosted -- Texas cut San Francisco's series lead to 2-1. Lewis, the unflappable Rangers starter who for the past two seasons pitched for the Hiroshima Carp of Japan's Central League, improved to 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in four postseason starts. Each of his wins has come after a Texas loss, perhaps adding to the fans' roar of appreciation when he left the game.
" It's an unbelievable feeling," Lewis said. "I get goose bumps thinking about it right now."
Feliz struck out two in the ninth for the save. The 22-year-old became the youngest to save a World Series game since current Rangers co-owner Nolan Ryan did it in 1969.
No longer in San Francisco's spacious AT&T Park, the offenses received a small lift from playing in the cozy Ballpark in Arlington, where a stadium record 52,419 fans saw four home runs -- twice as many as in the series' first two games. All six runs came via the home run.
The Rangers got their offense from lefthanded sluggers Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland, both of whom homered off Giants lefty starter Jonathan Sanchez, who allowed only five homers to lefties all regular season.
Moreland's blast, which came at the end of a nine-pitch at bat, brought home three runs in the bottom of the second. Hamilton added a solo homer in the fifth.
"Mitch had already hit a home run, and I saw how he battled up there," Hamilton said. "Mitch is stubborn. He's not going to let anybody beat him. He's got that competitive attitude about him, which is a very good thing as an athlete."
Moreland, a rookie first baseman who batted ninth, had nine home runs in 145 at bats during the regular season, though none of them came off a lefty pitcher.
"He goes up there and he uses every bit of talent he has," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He fights, and when he gets his pitch, he don't usually miss it. That was a huge home run for us tonight, put us on the board, gave us a little breathing room, and Colby Lewis took it from there."
The Giants received solo blasts from Cody Ross and Andres Torres. It was Ross' team-leading fifth home run of the postseason and Torres' first. San Francisco only managed seven baserunners all night and only once did they have two on in the same inning -- the first, when Lewis struck out Burrell to end the threat.
That was just one of four strikeout for Burrell. In the series he is now 0-for-9 with two walks and eight strikeouts, just five behind the World Series record of 13, done last by the Phillies' Ryan Howard. He did, however, make a run-saving catch in the first inning, running into the leftfield corner to rob Vladimir Guerrero of a double.
Sanchez has now failed to get past the fifth in his last two starts; he was knocked out after 4 2/3 innings in Game 3, giving up all four runs.
"I thought he battled well," Bochy said. "After the home run he regrouped and he kept them there to the one mistake to Hamilton."
The Rangers found plate discipline from unexpected sources. Notorious freeswingers Bengie Molina, Jeff Francoeur and Guerrero each walked.
The story of the night, however, was Lewis. He was remarkably efficient, throwing 74 of his 103 pitches for strikes and starting 19 of the last 20 batters he faced with a first-pitch strike. During the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, he threw 28 of 32 pitches for strikes.
"If you go out and pound the strike zone early, it opens up a lot of doors," Lewis said. "I think it's a situation where you can get ahead early and throw the pitches you want to late."
Lewis got outs every which way, inducing eight groundouts and seven flyouts to go along with his six strikeouts.
"You want to be in a rhythm defensively," Texas third baseman Michael Young said. "When a pitcher is on top of his game, the defense feeds off that rhythm. They say pitching and defense wins, and that's why."
The Rangers finally broke through with a win, with two more still to play at home.
"The momentum, obviously we're still down one game, but it's shifted," Hamilton said. "I mean, we're at home, we've got the fans behind us. We're right where we want to be."