If it weren't for three tack-on runs by the Giants in the eighth, it could have been interesting. Texas scored three times in the ninth, forcing San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy to go to his closer, Brian Wilson. Finally, it ended on an Ian Kinsler fly ball to right 3 hours, 36 minutes after it began. The two teams combined to use 12 pitchers.
After facing 24 Giants hitters, 10 of whom reached base, Lee allowed seven runs (six earned). San Francisco doubled five times and chased Lee in the fifth, when everything absolutely unraveled for Texas, the favorite in this series mainly because of the postseason pitching machine that is Lee.
"For whatever reason, I was inconsistent locating pitches," Lee said. "There are games when you go to Plan B and battle. That's what I was trying to do.
"That's unacceptable as far as I'm concerned."
Want perspective? The Giants hadn't scored seven runs since Sept. 25. Lee hadn't allowed seven runs since Aug. 31.
The first game of the 106th Fall Classic was billed as a grand pitching duel, just as the games in the National League Championship Series started by Tim Lincecum against Roy Halladay were. Those did not live up to the hype.
On Wednesday, both Lincecum and Lee were out of the game before the sixth inning was over. Lincecum needed 15 pitches before recording the first out of the game and made a boneheaded fielding mistake but limited the damage.
Lee could not. He was the first pitcher to start consecutive World Series Game 1's for different teams in different leagues since Jack Morris did it in 1991-92. Last season, of course, Lee authored a complete-game victory for the Phillies over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in Game 1.
This night was so different.
Each time San Francisco made loud contact, Lee watched the flight of the ball until it landed on the outfield grass at AT&T Park. He meandered toward home plate to back up his catcher, but before each extra-base hit, he had to take one long look just to make sure what happened was actually happening.
"I saw the Giants work him pretty good," Washington said. "You know, I think it was the third inning when he put the two runs up. He threw 32 pitches, just sort of ran out of gas there by the time we got to the fifth, and they put some good at-bats together, put some runs on the board, and we just couldn't recover."
Even after surviving the third, Lee needed 32 pitches to retire the side and run his total to 60. After four innings, it was 75. Before the Giants broke it open in the fifth, this was a game Lee had no chance of finishing.
After Lee exited, Juan Uribe hit a three-run homer in the fifth, padding the Giants' lead to 8-2.
San Francisco had planned on attacking Lee much like opponents attack Halladay - swing early and often. Both pitchers rely heavily on their command, will issue few walks, and generally throw fastballs early in the count. The Giants had decent success with that approach against Halladay, scoring six runs in 13 innings during the NLCS.
Lee didn't have his usual pinpoint control, actually walking a batter (for the 20th time in 2010) and hitting another. The Rangers took plenty of hacks and fouled off their fair share of pitches.
"Whether they were aggressive or patient, I have to do a better job," Lee said. "I threw a ton of balls and pitches over the plate."
Counting his first two postseason starts, Lee had allowed nine runs combined in six games since Aug. 31. In the eight postseason starts Lee had made before Wednesday, his team had won all eight of them.
In the ninth start, Lee's lone highlight was a double he hit in the second inning that led to a Rangers run. He stood on second base, looked to the Texas dugout where his teammates were half applauding and half laughing, and put his arms in the air, as if to say, What can I say?
Three innings later, just about everyone was wondering the same thing when Lee jogged off the mound, leaving a lost Game 1 for good.
Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at 215-854-2928 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @magelb.