DETROIT - Two years ago, the San Francisco Giants shut out the
Texas Rangers twice on the way to winning the 2010 World Series. This
time around their pitching has been even better.
Vogelsong and two relievers combined on a five-hitter Saturday as the
Giants blanked the Detroit Tigers for the second time in a row, posting a
2-0 victory that put them on the verge of their second championship in
San Francisco leads the series 3-0 and has outscored Detroit 12-3.
pretty incredible,'' outfielder Hunter Pence said of a pitching staff
that has thrown four shutouts in the last six games. "It definitely
helps the confidence a ton when your starting pitchers, and bullpen,
everyone seems to get the job done.''
It was the first time since
1966 a team authored back-to-back shutouts in the World Series. The
Baltimore Orioles turned the trick on the Los Angeles Dodgers in a
four-game sweep 46 years ago.
San Francisco will go for the sweep Sunday with All-Star Game starter Matt Cain on the mound.
think he's the one to do it,'' said left fielder Gregor Blanco, who
drove in the Giants' first run with a second-inning triple and scored
the second one. "He's our ace and he threw a perfect game. A lot of good
things happened to him, and why not finish it with a World Series
Fellow 16-game winner Max Scherzer will oppose Cain, but it
might not matter who's pitching for the Tigers if their bats don't wake
up. Of the three runs they've scored so far, two came in the ninth
inning of an 8-3 rout in Game 1. Detroit has not led for a single inning
in the series.
The Tigers' two big guns, Triple Crown winner
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, have gone a combined 3-for-19 with
one RBI and 12 runners left on base.
The Giants turned a two-run
second inning off Anibal Sanchez and the brilliant pitching from
Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and closer Sergio Romo into their sixth
postseason win in a row, a franchise record. They have allowed four runs
in that span.
"Sometimes you want to rank the staff No. 1, No. 2,
but with the way they're throwing, we all look at them as a No. 1,''
manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's how well they've done.''
joined Curt Schilling (2001), Burt Hooton (1981) and Blue Moon Odom
(1972) as the only pitchers to have four consecutive postseason starts
in which they gave up a run or less.
Vogelsong, who yielded a
total of three runs in his previous three starts covering 19 innings,
wasn't as sharp as in those outings, allowing nine baserunners in his 5
But he got the key outs when he needed them, none of
them bigger than Cabrera's popup with the bases loaded and two outs in
Vogelsong had just struck out Quintin Berry when
Cabrera stepped in to chants of "MVP! MVP!'' On an 0-1 pitched, he
popped up to short to kill the threat, eliciting a collective groan from
the sellout crowd of 42,262 at Comerica Park.
Disgusted with the result, Cabrera threw his bat down as he jogged toward first.
was) just trying to get him to put the ball in play somewhere,''
Vogelsong said, "because I had a good feeling we were going to catch it
if he did, with the way these guys were all over the field tonight.''
Giants' defense continued to sparkle, as Pablo Sandoval made a diving
catch of a Jhonny Peralta liner in the fifth and Blanco ranged
full-speed past the left-field foul line to grab Peralta's deep drive in
Lincecum relieved Vogelsong with two outs in the sixth
and got Peralta to fly out, as he and Romo joined forces to pitch 3 1/3
"To have a Cy Young Award winner in the bullpen
is the most amazing thing,'' Sandoval said. "Those are the moves Bochy
makes, and they're really paying off in the postseason.''
Tigers squandered early chances with inning-ending double-play grounders
in the first and third innings, both times with runners on first and
second, as Vogelsong escaped by getting Fielder and Berry, respectively,
to hit into 4-6-3 rally-killers.
"I thought we had Ryan on the
ropes a couple times tonight,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We
couldn't get the killer hit or the killer blow.''
given up just two runs in 13 1/3 postseason innings coming in, but the
Giants matched that total in the second inning.
Blanco, who came
in 4-for-7 with two walks in his career against Sanchez, tripled to the
wall in right-center to drive in Pence with the game's first run.
Brandon Crawford's RBI single brought in the second.
the triple, Blanco called for timeout and home-plate umpire Fieldin
Culbreth granted it, forcing Sanchez to stop in mid-delivery. Cabrera
took several steps in and said something, which Blanco said was a
complaint to Culbreth.
"I think he told him he didn't have to stop
the play because the pitcher was already about to throw home,'' Blanco
said in Spanish. "But I think the umpire made the right call. I think he
was trying to put pressure on the ump.
"Anibal sometimes goes too
quickly to the plate and he tried to do it that time. I have to control
my at-bat, so I tried to stop him. I was able to do it and I got a
hanging curveball, and made good contact.''
After the inning,
Sanchez headed for the clubhouse and right-hander Rick Porcello started
to warm up in the bullpen, but was not summoned. Sanchez stayed in the
game and threw five scoreless innings after that.
The native of
Venezuela had not pitched since Oct. 14, and there were some questions
regarding how he would handle the long layoff and the cold weather (the
game-time temperature was 47 degrees).
Neither seemed to be as much of a problem as the Tigers' lack of clutch hitting.