Zito, Sandoval have unforgettable turnaround

Two years ago, Barry Zito and Pablo Sandoval were a forgotten pair. They watched from the bench as the Giants won the World Series.

Last night, the Giants may not have won Game 1 without them.

It’s a testament to their personal character. They both worked hard and earned the trust and respect of their organization, manager and teammates.

They both hit rock bottom and now they are standing tall at the top of the mountain. Sandoval etched his name and face into the side of that mountain by hitting three home runs in Game 1.

For the first five years of his enormous contract, Zito had to listen to people ask whether the Giants should just release him. Where the Giants better off eating the money and opening up Zito’s roster spot?

But after outlasting Justin Verlander, no one wants to get rid of Zito. He’s practically the toast of the town after his last two starts.

The gangly lefty has given up just three earned runs in 16 innings this postseason.┬áThe Giants couldn’t ask for more. But they got it anyway, in the form of an RBI base hit in the fourth inning off Verlander.

Sandoval fell out of favor so badly at the end of 2010, he only got three World Series at-bats against Texas. The Giants felt more comfortable with a 31-year-old Juan Uribe at third base in the playoffs after he played just 25 games there during the regular season.

But last night, both players erased those memories. Zito gave up just one run over 5-2/3 innings and got the win, and Sandoval became just the 4th player in the 108-year history of the World Series to hit three home runs in one game.

The husky third baseman has 23 hits, six home runs and 15 RBI in 19 games this October. And he has a few more games to add to those incredible numbers.