Until the end, the Tigers thought one big hit could shift the momentum. It was an all-too-familiar October lament — Texas felt the same way when the Giants throttled them in 2010, and Tigers knew the feeling when St. Louis wiped them out in 2006.
Howling winds made it feel much colder than the 44 degrees at gametime. Two wrappers blew across home plate after leadoff man Angel Pagan struck out, and fly balls played tricks in the breeze.
The Giants started with their pregame ritual. They clustered around Hunter Pence in the dugout, quickly turning into a bobbing, whooping, pulsing pack, showering themselves with sunflower seeds. A big league good-luck charm, Little League style.
And once again, San Francisco took an early lead. Pence hit a one-hop drive over the center-field fence for a double and Brandon Belt tripled on the next pitch for a 1-0 lead in the second.
The next inning, Cabrera gave the Tigers a reason to think this might be their night.
With two outs and a runner on first, Cabrera lofted an opposite-field fly to right — off the bat, it looked like a routine out shy of the warning track. But with winds gusting over 25 mph, the ball kept carrying, Pence kept drifting toward the wall and the crowd kept getting louder.
Just like that, it was gone.
Cabrera's homer gave Detroit its first lead of the Series, ended its 20-inning scoreless streak and reaffirmed a pregame observation by Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline.
"The wind usually blows to right at this time of year," Kaline said.
In the fourth, Max Scherzer and catcher Gerald Laird teamed on a strike 'em out-throw 'em out double play. Scherzer yelled, first baseman Prince Fielder clenched his fist and the Tigers ran off the field on a chilly, windy, rainy evening. At last, it seemed, all the elements were in their favor.