10/25/12 2:39 AM ET
Pagan's kooky double in line with Oddtober baseball
Sandoval's broken-bat HR, Posey's heads-up DP also peculiar plays from Game 1
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
That's just fine with Angel Pagan.
Pagan's two-out double off the third-base bag in the third inning Wednesday night started the decisive rally in the Giants' 8-3 victory over the Tigers to open the World Series at AT&T Park. It was just the latest in a never-ending series of bizarre plays this postseason, things no one has seen before, even those who have been around the game forever.
"This is baseball. Anything can happen," Pagan said. "We are going out there trying to get a win. It doesn't matter how: Hitting a bag, error, whatever. We're here to win the World Series."
Later that inning, Pablo Sandoval hit a home run, and it turns out that he actually broke his bat on the backswing, followed by his third homer with a new bat. Never saw that before.
Then one inning later, Delmon Young hit into a double play you probably never saw before in the World Series -- shades of Ed Armbrister in the 1975 World Series but different. Young tapped a fair ball just in front of the plate, catcher Buster Posey grabbed it, tagged a confused Young, then fired to second, where Prince Fielder was tagged out.
Hunter Pence broke his bat in the National League Championship Series clincher, and the bat actually hit the baseball three times, throwing Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma for a weird-spin loop. The Giants clinched the pennant in the pouring rain, which fell like champagne. Never saw that before.
In the NL Wild Card Game in Atlanta, Kozma drifted back and then peeled off, allowing the ball to drop and leading to a controversial infield fly ruling. A couple of weeks later, a previous Cards shortstop, David Eckstein, said: "I've never seen that before." Those words are becoming a fixture this month, uttered twice by Tim McCarver on FOX this week.
Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp dropped a routine fly ball during one game, then looked like Superman the next. Really?
Alex Rodriguez was removed for the first time for a pinch-hitter, and the pinch-hitter, Raul Ibanez, proceeded to homer twice. Never saw that before.
Really, you can go on and on. Oddtober has been like that.
You had Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips pulling a Derek Jeter by backing up first base in Game 1 of the NL Division Series. You had Jose Valverde, perfect in 2011 as the Tigers' closer, allowing seven earned runs while recording four outs vs. the A's and Yankees.
Pagan said hitting a base with a batted ball is nothing new for him.
"Tons of 'em," he said. "A lot of 'ugly finders.'
"I saw it when it got away from [third baseman] Miguel [Cabrera]. I was just trying to hustle to first base and create a rally with two outs. But it hit the bag, and after that, I was trying to get to second base.
"We'll take it any way it happens. It can be an error, whatever happens, we'll take the victory."
After this World Series opener, even Young was talking about the weird play at third.
"It happens," he said. "But regardless if that play didn't happen ... Sandoval drove in three runs all by himself tonight."