Leon Halip

Giants shut Tigers out for 2nd straight game, win 2-0

The San Francisco Giants took a commanding 3-0 lead in the World Series, shutting out the Tigers once again in Game 3.

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Lincecum allows runner, doesn't allow run

The runner was on an error, mind you.

One of the stories of the postseason has been Tim Lincecum, confusing disappointment, turning into Tim Lincecum, old-school relief ace. And in the middle of Game 3, Bruce Bochy went to the Lincecum well in the sixth inning, hoping he could bridge the gap between Ryan Vogelsong and the late-inning relievers.

Lincecum did more than that, pitching 2⅓ scoreless innings, allowing just a walk. His fastball is the best it's looked all season, allowing him to get hitters chasing his changeup.

He's not doing it alone, though. He has a little help from his friends:

It was Crawford who made the error to extend the inning, but he started the inning by getting that out against Miguel Cabrera. Lincecum struck out Prince Fielder on three pitches after that, and following the error that allowed Delmon Young to reach, Andy Dirks struck out on a changeup to end the inning.


Tigers' bats still quiet, Lincecum holds 2-0 lead

It's pretty odious to pick apart individual decisions of an at-bat, really. As in, "He should have/have not (swung)(taken) that pitch." It's impossible to get that dogmatic without knowing what the hitter was looking for, and what the pitch looked like coming to the plate.

That written, Alex Avila led off the bottom of the seventh, and he worked a 3-1 count against Tim Lincecum. The reason that Lincecum is in the bullpen ... well, there are a lot of reasons, but the main one is his command. He's walking more hitters now than he ever did in the majors.

But on the 3-1 pitch, Avila swung, chopping it right back to Lincecum, who ran it to first unassisted for the first out of the inning.

If he takes the pitch, maybe Lincecum gives up a leadoff walk on the following 3-2 pitch, and the inning goes quite differently. As it happened, though, Omar Infante flew out for the second out, and after an Austin Jackson walk -- see? see? -- Quintin Berry chased a series of changeups to end the inning.

Heading into the 8th, the Giants are still up, 2-0.


Vogelsong out, Lincecum in, Tigers still scoreless

With his 104th pitch in Game 3 of the World Series, Ryan Vogelsong walked Andy Dirks and Bruce Bochy figured that was enough. With two outs and Dirks aboard, Bochy replaced Vogelsong with Tim Lincecum, the Giants' new go-to-reliever in the middle innings. Somewhat atypically, Lincecum didn't strike out Jhonny; instead he retired Peralta on a fly ball to right-center field, where Hunter Pence made the inning-ending catch.

With Vogelsong getting credit for 5⅔ scoreless innings, San Francisco's starting pitchers now haven't given up a run since Game 6 of the NLCS, when Vogelsong gave up one run in seven innings. Oh, and it's Vogelsong's seventh straight start, dating back to September, in which he gave up one run or none. Meanwhile, Lincecum is reinventing himself before our very eyes, on baseball's biggest stage.

It's just beginning to look like the Tigers will never score again, or at least not against a Giant starting pitcher.


Tigers rally cut short with bases loaded

There aren't a lot of balls hit in baseball that make people say, "That might have been out of AT&T Park," but in the top of the fifth, Angel Pagan hit one. He took a high fastball out to dead center, but Austin Jackson ranged back and calmly collected it just in front of the warning track. It's 420 to dead center in Comerica. Maybe Juan Gonzalez was right not to sign that mega-deal the Tigers offered him!

Anibal Sanchez has settled down nicely after his rough second inning, and set the side down in order on 13 pitches in the fifth.

Ryan Vogelsong has gone in the other direction. No, his pitching is not a disentanglement from, but a progressive knotting into. Jhonny Peralta lined out to Pablo Sandoval for the first out of the inning, but Alex Avila hit a rocket to right for a single. Omar Infanta followed with a bloop down the line, and Austin Jackson walked to load the bases with one out.

Quintin Berry struck out, though, bringing up Miguel Cabrera with "M-V-P" chants exhorting him on.

Vogelsong somehow, some way, got out of the inning without giving up a run, and the Giants still lead 2-0 in Game 3.


Tigers come up empty, Giants still up 2-0 in 5th

We're heading to the fifth inning, and the Detroit Tigers are still looking for their first lead in this World Series. Miguel Cabrera led off the bottom of the fourth, and hit a soft little liner to second baseman Marco Scutaro. Ryan Vogelsong struck out Prince Fielder (which seemed odd) and walked Delmon Young (which seemed odder). But yet another Tiger rally ended with a ground ball, as Andy Dirks hit an easy one to Scutaro.

Meanwhile, just one shaky inning has undone Anibal Sanchez. He faced only four Tigers in the first inning, three in the third, and four in the fourth; the only two debits in those innings were harmless singles. But of course there was that tough second inning, when his control deserted him and he gave up a couple of runs. Otherwise, though, Sánchez has been outstanding. He's thrown 74 pitches in those four innings, though, and can't be expected to pitch much beyond the sixth.

And it's still Giants 2, Tigers 0.


Anibal settles down, Vogelsong gets out of jam

After his 30-pitch second inning, Anibal Sanchez went straight from the mound into the tunnel adjoining the dugout. Rick Porcello was warming up at the time, and it was an open question who would come back out for the third inning.

Porcello sat down, and Sanchez pitched a much better third inning. Marco Scutaro led the inning off by getting called out on strikes (on an outside pitch, mind you), and Pablo Sandoval hit a laces-high pitch to first base for the second out. Buster Posey took a mighty hack at a 3-0 pitch, but his slump continued as he fouled out to end the inning.

On the other side, Ryan Vogelsong got into trouble in the bottom of the third, allowing a one-out single to Omar Infante, and an infield hit on a chopper from Austin Jackson. Quintin Berry came up, and even if he made an out, Miguel Cabrera would still come up representing the go-ahead ...

It had to be a tailored double play to get the speedy Berry, and it was. The crowd was into the game for about 30 seconds. It was a loud 30 seconds.


Giants take 2-0 lead against shaky Anibal Sánchez

So it didn't take long for the Detroit Tigers to fall behind the San Francisco Giants. Again.

With Tigers right-hander Anibal Sánchez on the mound, Hunter Pence led off the second inning for the Giants. Pence has been slumping all month. Sánchez hadn't walked a right-handed batter in his last nine starts. So of course Sánchez walked Pence. On four pitches.

Pence stole second base while Brandon Belt was striking out looking, then moved to third when one of Sánchez's fastballs sailed past catcher Alex Avila. But those advancements seemed moot when Gregor Blanco drove a pitch to deep right-center field ...


... for an RBI triple.

No. 9 hitter Brandon Crawford came up next, and dropped a soft liner into center field for a single. Blanco scored, and Crawford reached second when Austin Jackson overran the ball and got charged with an error. Sánchez finally escaped when Ángel Pagán hit an easy grounder to Prince Fielder. That was Sánchez's 31st pitch in the inning.

We're on to the bottom of the second inning, the Giants are ahead 2-0 ... and the Tigers still haven't led the Giants for a single minute of this World Series.


Giants, Tigers leave runners on in first

It is 47 degrees or so in Detroit, which I'd guess would make it pretty hard to hit. Everyone just wants to get back to the dugout as quickly as possible so they can start a pine-tar fire.

The Giants obliged in the top of the first inning, going down quickly. Angel Pagan grounded out on the second pitch he saw from Anibal Sanchez, and Marco Scutaro grounded to short after running the count full. Pablo Sandoval dunked a single in front of Austin Jackson -- Sandoval's sixth hit in eight at-bats -- but he was stranded when Buster Posey waved through a Sanchez fastball.

In the Tigers' half, things were more promising. Quintin Berry worked out a tough, one-out walk against Ryan Vogelsong, setting the table for the middle of the order. Miguel Cabrera got out in front of a curve, but he punched it through the left side, putting two on for Prince Fielder, who got ahead in the count, 2-1.

Getting ahead in the count didn't help. Rally quashed. Inning over. Game still scoreless.


Just in time, a rallying cry for Tiger fans!

With the first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series just a few minutes away, here's a bit of music from 1968 to stir the passions of Detroit Tigers fans, wherever they are. Go get 'em, Tigers!


Giants' Game 3 lineup features DH Héctor Sánchez

At this point, Giants manager Bruce Bochy is playing with house money, considering his club has won the first two games in the World Series. Which has to make him feel better about a Game 3 lineup that includes backup catcher Héctor Sánchez as Designated Hitter, with Tigers right-hander Anibal Sánchez slated for mound duties ...

1. Ángel Pagán# - CF
2. Marco Scutaro - 2B
3. Pablo Sandoval# - 3B
4. Buster Posey - C
5. Hunter Pence - RF
6. Brandon Belt* - 1B
7. Gregor Blanco* - LF
8. Héctor Sánchez# - DH
9. Brandon Crawford* - SS

Once again, Bruce Bochy has made Jim Leyland's job just a bit easier than it has to be. With three left-handed hitters and weak-hitting Hector Sanchez in the bottom four slots of the order, the Giants should be relatively easy pickings for Phil Coke in the late innings. The right-handed-hitting options on the bench will probably be Ryan Theriot, Joaquin Arias, and Xavier Nady; the latter hasn't seen any action since the Division Series, when he went hitless in five at-bats.


Tigers' Game 3 lineup has a left-handed look

Yeah, the Detroit Tigers sorta need to win Game 3, since teams that lose the first three games of a best-of-seven series simply don't come back and win the next four. And the Tigers have already lost the first two. With the Giants sending right-hander Ryan Vogelsong to the mound in Game 3, here is Jim Leyland's lineup:

1. Austin Jackson - CF
2. Quintin Berry* - LF
3. Miguel Cabrera - 3B
4. Prince Fielder* - 1B
5. Delmon Young - DH
6. Andy Dirks* - RF
7. Jhonny Peralta - SS
8. Alex Avila* - C
9. Omar Infante - 2B

This is Jim Leyland's lefty-heavy lineup, which basically just means that 27-year-old rookie Quintin Berry's in the lineup instead of 20-year-old rookie Avisail García. You might notice that, unlike Bruce Bochy, Leyland apparently likes to alternate his lefty and righty hitters.

I noticed, anyway. I keep waiting for Bochy's lineup to bite him on the butt, but of course it hasn't happened yet. Maybe tonight's the night?

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