Venezuelan slugger Pablo Sandoval became the fourth player to hit three home runs in a World Series game, a feat he accomplished in last night’s 8-3 victory by the San Francisco Giants in the first game of the World Series.
The man nicknamed the “Kung Fu Panda” hit his round-trippers in the first, third and fifth innings as part of a dominant performance by the Giants over the Detroit Tigers. Two of the homers came over Tigers ace Justin Verlander who was outpitched by the duo of Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum.
"Man, I still can't believe it," Sandoval said to the press after a game that electrified the hometown San Francisco crowd. "When you're a little kid, you dream of being in the World Series. But I [wasn't] thinking of being in this situation, three homers in one game," Sandoval added.
Sandoval thus joins Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols as the only men to hit three homers in a World Series game. He also made it to the Venezuelan baseball record books by hitting as many World Series home runs as all the other major league players from his homeland had ever hit in all their previous World Series appearances.
Sandoval is one of a record nine Venezuelans participating in this year’s World Series, which includes teammate Marco Scutaro and Triple Crown champion Miguel Cabrera. As a result, Sandoval and company have become an immense source of pride among their countrymen:
“It’s the first time, but it had to happen one day. All the time there are more and better Venezuelan players in the major leagues,” said Alberto Mendoza, who was among dozens of fans at a restaurant in Caracas celebrating the Giants’ clinching win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series on Monday night. “Venezuela is a power in baseball.”2012 is poised to become a banner year for Venezuelan major leaguers. Cabrera’s Triple Crown was the first in over forty years, Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect game for the Seattle Mariners and Johan Santana hurled the first no-hitter in New York Mets history.
Video Source– MLB.com
Online Sources – USA TODAY, The Guardian, ESPN