Thearon W. Henderson

Giants close out 2-0 Game 2 win, now lead World Series 2-0

The underdog Giants have swept the first two World Series games from the Tigers, after beating Detroit 2-0 in Game 2 behind a great outing from lefty starter Madison Bumgarner.

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Giants beat Tigers 2-0 in Game 2, up 2-0 in Series

There never was any sort of hitting explosion in Game 2 of the World Series, but San Francisco's pitchers -- led by starter Madison Bumgarner -- held Detroit to only two hits on their way to a 2-0 victory.


Giants score again in 8th, take 2-0 lead to 9th

Did anyone think that Drew Smyly would be the Detroit Tigers' key relief pitcher in Game 2 of the World Series?

Well, he was. Smyly, a southpaw made a lot of sense in the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Giants were about to send three left-handed hitters in a row to the plate. Alas, one of them walked and another dropped a bunt single down the third-base line and another hit a double-play grounder to plate the first run in the game.

Smyly did escape that frame no more damage. And you might have guessed that Jim Leyland would turn elsewhere in the eighth, considering the Tigers' desperate need to keep the score at just 1-0. But Leyland stuck with Smyly, who walked switch-hitter Ángel Pagán. He stole second base, but Smyly did come back to strike out Marco Scutaro. Smyly then issued another walk, to Pablo Sandoval ... but this one was intentional, presumably to set up the double play. Because as good as Sandoval's been this month, you don't usually walk someone to get to Buster Posey, who was on deck.

But Octavio Dotel came in to face Posey. And walked him to load the bases, with just one out. Which was a problem, even with the slumping Hunter Pence due next. As we've seen on other occasions tonight, the Tigers' pitcher simply didn't seem to have a put-away pitch, and ultimately Pence swung his hardest and drove a fly ball to right-center field, plenty deep enough to score Pagán from third to make the score 2-0.

Leyland didn't show nearly as much patience with Dotel as he had with Smyly, and so on came lefty Phil Coke to face Brandon Belt. The count went full, and Coke struck Belt out with one of his typical sweeping sliders.

So the damage was limited. But the way the Tigers have been hitting, the Giants' 2-0 lead after eight innings feels pretty safe. And here comes Sergio Romo to finish things.


Giants lead 1-0 on double-play grounder in 7th

Well, Doug Fister's out of Game 2. He'd thrown 107 pitches in the first six innings, despite giving up only three hits and one walk. With Hunter Pence leading off the seventh, Jim Leyland sent Fister back to the mound to face Pence. But Fister couldn't put Pence away, and the ultimate result was a ground-ball single to left field.

So Leyland went to his bullpen. With the next three Giants in the lineup all left-handed hitters -- hey, good thinking Bruce Bochy! -- Leyland summoned southpaw Drew Smyly, who spent most of the season in the Tigers' rotation, but whose two appearances in the postseason were both as a reliever against the Yankees in the ALCS.

Alas, Leyland's machinations didn't work. Just as Fister couldn't put Pence away, Smyly couldn't put Brandon Belt away, and wound up walking him. That brought up Gregor Blanco, who desperately wanted to bunt. Even though Smyly couldn't throw strikes, Blanco just kept trying to bunt. And when he finally did, it couldn't have worked out any better. Because the Giants got a lot more than just a sacrifice hit. Watch the umpire:


That loaded the bases, of course. Which meant the game's first run just a moment later, when Brandon Crawford grounded into a double play. The good news for the Tigers was the rally brought the pitcher's spot up, and so Bochy sent up Ryan Theriot as a pinch hitter for Madison Bumgarner. And Smyly did strikeout Theriot to end it.

So after seven innings, we finally have a real score: Giants 1, Tigers 0. Bumgarner threw seven shutout innings, with eight strikeouts. Santiago Casilla's coming in to start the top of the eighth. And the Tigers' backs are against the wall.


Fister, Bumgarner still matching zeroes after 6

Yes, Madison Bumgarner is taking a shutout into the seventh inning.

So is Doug Fister.

Which is more surprising? Which is more impressive?

Bumgarner hasn't pitched this well since late August. Fister took a line drive off this cranium in the second inning. So, you choose which is more surprising.

As for impressive, Bumgarner's probably got that one locked up so far. He's given up only two hits and one walk, while Fister's given up three hits and one walk. The only real difference is that Bumgarner's got eight strikeouts already, Fister only three. The bottom line, of course, is that both have pitched exceptionally well, which is how Game 2 remains scoreless after six innings.

Postscript: Oh, there's one other huge difference between them. Despite having only three strikeouts, Fister has thrown 107 pitches and clearly won't be in this game much longer. Bumgarner, on the other hand, has somehow thrown only 72 pitches and figures to keep pitching until he gets into trouble or there's an undeniable pinch-hitting situation.


Giants' Bumgarner carrying shutout into 7th

Before the World Series, I suggested that Madison Bumgarner might be the key to this World Series.

Of course, that was before the Giants raked Justin Verlander in Game 1; now, that looks like the key. But Bumgarner entered his Game 2 start as San Francisco's biggest question mark, having not really pitched well since late August.

Well, we're six innings into Game 2, and Bumgarner's pitching a shutout. He's already recorded eight strikeouts, which he hadn't done in a single game since the 20th of August. He did issue his first walk in the sixth, to Austin Jackson ... who, just a couple of pitches earlier, had lined a foul ball a long way into the stands down the left-field line.

That walk came with two outs. Omar Infante was next, and lined Bumgarner's first two pitches ... but foul. Bumgarner's third pitch was a high fastball, and Infante swung through it to become the eighth strikeout victim and end the inning.


Still no score after 4 innings as tension builds

You gotta figure it's just a matter of time before Miguel Cabrera hits a double or a home run, at least if Madison Bumgarner keeps pitching. In the first inning, he hit a hot grounder to shortstop. In the fourth, he hit a line drive that Pablo Sandoval snagged. But you can't keep him down forever, especially with a lefty on the mound. Cabrera did make an out in the fourth, though. And the Tigers' mini-threat ended when Bumgarner picked off Omar Infante, who lit out for second base and was out from here to there.

In the bottom of the fourth, Doug Fister once more breezed through the Giants, and has now retired them 1-2-3 in three of the first four frames. Well, maybe breezed isn't exactly the right word. Hunter Pence drove a fly ball to deep center field, and Brandon Belt hit a sinking liner that Infante snared. But it seems a small miracle that Fister's not at the hospital right now, getting an MRI on his skull. So we're grading him on a curve.


Game 2 still scoreless after briskly played 3rd

So far, so good for Madison Bumgarner, who's trying to make his first good start in quite some time. I did see this on Twitter ...

... and I'm not saying Badler's wrong. But in three innings, he's struck out five Tigers and thrown only 39 pitches. Maybe he doesn't have great stuff tonight, but he's got better stuff than Barry Zito and look what he's been doing lately.

Seriously, maybe Badler's right and Bumgarner's just been lucky or the Tigers have been really bad. But considering Bumgarner's recent history, everyone associated with the San Francisco Giants must be pleased and encouraged.

Meanwhile, Doug Fister seems perfectly fine after taking that liner off the noggin in the third inning. In the fourth, the sinker-balling righty set down Ángel Pagán, Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval in order, all on ground balls.

So after less than hour, they're still scoreless and heading to the fourth inning in San Francisco.


No runs, but plenty of hard-hitting action in 2nd

After an uneventful first inning, we were treated to a eventful second. There were no runs. But there were events.

Prince Fielder led off the top of the second, and Madison Bumgarner's third pitch plunked him in the shoulder. Delmon Young came up next, and grounded Bumgarner's second pitch down the third-base line; the ball bounded through the bullpen, then caromed off a jutting wall. Gregor Blanco corralled the ball finally, and hit second baseman Marco Scutaro -- stationed all the way near third base by then -- and Scutaro fired a perfect strike to Buster Posey, who just nipped Fielder on his right foot before his left foot touched the plate.


A couple of years ago, Posey might have actually tried to block the plate, even with Prince Fielder bearing down on him. That's what A.J. Pierzynski, in all his infinite wisdom, said on TV. But instead Posey took his position to the side, then applied the sweep tag with great speed and precision. And so they got Fielder, and instead of the Tigers scoring the game's first run -- or having runners on second and third with nobody out -- they had a runner on second with one out. And Detroit wound up getting nothing at all when Jhonny Peralta popped out and Avisail García struck out.

Posey led off the bottom of the second, and singled. But Doug Fister got the slumping Hunter Pence on an easy fly ball, and struck out Brandon Belt.

And then Gregor Blanco hit a line drive that caught Fister flush on the right side of his head, then bounced high into the air before dropping into center field for a single ...


Somehow, Fister seemed unaffected, and got right back to business after a couple of practice offerings. Fister walked Brandon Crawford to load the bases, but got Bumgarner on a pop to short center field to end the frame.


Panda does NOT homer in uneventful first inning

As Joe Sheehan pointed out today, Madison Bumgarner entered his Game 2 start with a 7.46 ERA since the 20th of August -- when he pitched eight scoreless innings against the Giants -- including two postseason starts that didn't go well. It's pretty obvious that Bruce Bochy turned to Bumgarner in this one largely because he didn't have a better option.

Bumgarner's off to a good start in Game 2, though. He struck out Tigers leadoff man Austin Jackson looking, then got Omar Infante swinging. Miguel Cabrera hit a grounder pretty hard, but right at Brandon Crawford and Bumgarner was out of the first inning with only 13 pitches.

In the bottom of the frame, Doug Fister was nearly as impressive. He struck out Ángel Pagán, got "professional hitter" Marco Scutaro on a grounder to shortstop, and kept Pablo "Babe Reggie" Sandoval from hitting a home run (specifically, a high fly ball into the left-field corner).

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