After knocking the unflappable Justin Verlander out of game one with powerful offense, the Giants showed another side in game two, winning with precise small-ball execution and near perfect pitching and defense. With a 2-0 series lead, the Giants certainly feel confident, but they know it’s not a coincidence that the Tigers have made it this far and that they can’t let up against a talented team.
“It definitely feels a whole lot better than having our backs against the wall,” said game two winning pitcher Madison Bumgarner via ESPN.com. “But you can’t relax. We’ve got to keep pushing.”
Bumgarner dominated the Detroit lineup through seven innings, allowing just two hits and two walks and most importantly no runs.
Detroit starter Doug Fister kept up with Baugarner, holding the home team scoreless through six innings, but he took his lumps, literally, as he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Gregor Blanco.
“They asked me the typical concussion questions,” Fister said. I’m not concerned. I have a minor bump. According to my dad, my whole life his saying has always been if I got hit in the head I’d be OK. That’s how I take it.”
Everything was A-OK for Fister until the seventh inning when one the one the baserunners he was responsible for scored after he was pulled from the game. The Giants then added a run in the bottom of the eight inning of a Hunter Pence sacrifice fly to double their lead.
Then Sergio Romo did what’s he done all October long, close the door on the opposition and the book on game two.
The Tigers lack of offense was visibly frustrating to Detroit players, as even balls that were hit well failed to find outfield grass past the Giants defense. Prince Fielder nearly scored on a base hit in the second, but was thrown out at the plate and Miguel Cabrera smashed a line drive that was snared by last night’s hero Pablo Sandoval, robbing the Triple Crown winner of a sure double.
“Well, what are you going to do about it?” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “We got two hits tonight. I’m certainly not going to sit up here and rip my offense because last night I thought we had some pretty good swings. Cabrera hit a bullet tonight.”
Unfortunately, things aren’t going to get easier for the Tigers as Ryan Vogelsong, who has been red-hot this postseason, will get the start for San Francisco in game three. The Giants have won in each of Vogelsong’s three postseason starts and he has only allowed one earned run in each start while striking out 18 hitters.
Coming out the opposing dugout will be Anibal Sanchez, who has also found playoff success, going 1-1 and only allowing two earned runs in more than 13 innings of work.
The biggest advantage that Detroit has coming into game three (other than getting a day off to regroup) will be that they will be at home. The Tigers have certainly played much better at home this postseason and should be the favorite in game three. The Giants have grabbed the overall advantage in the series with their lead (79% of teams with 2-0 leads go on to win the series), but I like the Tigers to bounce back and take game three. Cabrera and Fielder won’t stay cold forever and eventually they will find some gaps in that San Fran defense.