KANSAS CITY -- The San Francisco Giants were encouraged by the progress of rookie reliever Hunter Strickland, who pitched a perfect ninth inning in the World Series opener on Tuesday as they topped the Kansas City Royals, 7-1, at Kauffman Stadium.
Strickland hadn't pitched since Game 2 of the National League Championship Series against St. Louis on Oct. 12, when he yielded an eighth-inning homer to Matt Adams. That was the fourth postseason home run Strickland had surrendered. Giants coaches immediately began working with Strickland to fix flaws in his delivery, including the right-hander's tendency to tip pitches.
Facing the No. 3-4-5 hitters in the Royals' batting order on Tuesday, Strickland sandwiched strikeouts of Lorenzo Cain and pinch-hitter Josh Willingham around Eric Hosmer's groundout.
Manager Bruce Bochy said of Strickland, "The work he and [pitching coach Dave Righetti] are doing has paid off."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.