Molina gets warm welcome in San Francisco return

Posted Oct. 27, 2010, at 6:45 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 28, 2010, at 4:40 a.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco Giants fans finally got to say a proper goodbye to Bengie Molina.

Molina got one of the loudest ovations during pregame introductions before Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night. It was his first game back in San Francisco since being traded to the Texas Rangers on July 1.

“I felt that very deep in my heart, it almost made me cry just to know that they appreciate me like that,” Molina said. “I’m very thankful for the fans, I’m very thankful because I spent 3½ years here and they respected me the way that they did, I very appreciate it. I just didn’t want to cry because there were too many people here.”

The rest of the night didn’t go as well for Molina as the Rangers lost the opener 11-7 to the Giants. Molina went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.

Molina joined Lonnie Smith as the only players to ever play for both World Series teams in the same season. Smith was traded by St. Louis to Kansas City on May 17, 1985, and won it all with the Royals. Molina got a warm ovation in pregame introductions.

Molina got dealt to make room for rookie Buster Posey to take over behind the plate. He didn’t know what kind of reaction he’d get now that he was on the opposing team.

“I’m wearing the wrong colors,” he said. They’re very protective on their other players and on their colors, so I didn’t know what to expect. That’s why it was probably very touching.”

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DOUBLE TROUBLE: Freddy Sanchez atoned for getting doubled up by hitting more doubles.

Sanchez became the first player ever to double in his first three World Series at-bats, driving in three runs to help the Giants win the opener.

“I think it’s crazy to have my name up there with all the guys that have played in the World Series that have done that before,” Sanchez said. “Obviously for no one to have done that yet, I think it’s something special. For just a little guy like me to go out there and be able to do it. But getting the win was the most important thing, but that’s something special and something I can enjoy along with the win.”

Sanchez doubled to right field off Cliff Lee in the first inning only to get erased on the bases when he broke for third on Buster Posey’s shallow fly to right field. Second baseman Ian Kinsler made an impressive running grab and easily doubled up Sanchez to help the Rangers escape the inning.

Sanchez more than made up for that blunder when he hit an RBI double down the left-field line in the third inning to score San Francisco’s first run.

He followed that up with an RBI double to center field in the fifth inning to give the Giants a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish.

Sanchez became the 10th batter in World Series history with three doubles in one game and the first since Jacoby Ellsbury did it for Boston in Game 3 in 2007 against Colorado.

Sanchez added an RBI single in the eighth inning. The play was briefly ruled a double, which would have tied Frank Isbell’s World Series record of four in a game for the White Sox in 1906, but was changed to a single and an error on right fielder Vladimir Guerrero.

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WILSON’S TEEN EXPERIENCE: When C.J. Wilson was a teenager, his cousins went to school in California with the daughters of former major league pitcher and current San Diego Padres manager Bud Black.

Eventually, Wilson got to meet and throw with Black, a fellow left-hander.

“My aunt was pestering him like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a nephew that can throw and he’s a lefty.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, right, whatever,'” Wilson said Wednesday, a day before starting Game 2 of the World Series for the Texas Rangers. “So we played catch one day in his backyard. “

Black then took him into the garage and told him to pick out a glove because he was going to need it.

Wilson said Black has stayed in touch with him since then and that they “talk about everything.” Including late last season when Wilson was considering the transition from reliever to starter.

Black told Wilson that he had to try if he had any chance to be a starter. Wilson won 15 games and threw 204 innings in the regular season.

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BAY AREA VS. DALLAS: While this may be the first postseason meeting between the Rangers and Giants, there have been plenty of playoff battles between teams from Dallas and the Bay Area.

The most memorable came in football, where the Cowboys have played the 49ers seven times in the NFL playoffs. Six of those games were for the NFL championship, with Dallas winning four times. San Francisco came out on top in the most memorable of those NFC championship meetings when Joe Montana and Dwight Clark teamed up on “The Catch” to beat the Cowboys 28-27 on Jan. 10, 1982, on the way to their first Super Bowl title.

There have also been playoff meetings in other sports, with the Golden State Warriors upsetting the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs. The Dallas Stars knocked the San Jose Sharks out of the NHL playoffs three times.

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AROUND THE HORN: Six of the last seven teams to win Game 1 went on to win the World Series. … The Giants handed Cliff Lee his first postseason loss in eight decisions. They also gave Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay their first career postseason losses in the past two weeks. Halladay had thrown a no-hitter in his only postseason start before losing to the Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS. Oswalt was 5-0 in the postseason before losing in relief in Game 4 that series. … Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus extended their postseason hitting streaks to 12 games. The only players with longer streaks to start their careers are Marquis Grissom (15) and Greg Luzinski (13).

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AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.

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