The San Francisco Giants took a two-games-to-none World Series lead against the Detroit Tigers by a matter of inches, one night after winning the opener with three home runs that traveled nearly a quarter of a mile.
Madison Bumgarner and two relief pitchers combined on a two-hitter as the Giants defeated the Tigers 2-0 last night in a game that included a scary scene when Detroit starting pitcher Doug Fister was hit in the head by a line drive.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven Major League Baseball championship round is set for tomorrow night at Comerica Park in Detroit, which will host Game 4 the following night.
“It’s a lot less stressful for sure,” Bumgarner said in a news conference, referring to the fact that the Giants had to overcome two-game deficits in each of their playoff series en route to the World Series. “But at the same time I don’t think we can stop pushing, or we’re going to find ourselves in the same spot we’ve been in the last two series.”
Of the 52 teams that previously have taken a 2-0 lead in the World Series, 41 have gone on to win the title -- including the last eight. The most recent team to come back to win the championship after losing the opening two games was the 1996 New York Yankees, who dropped the first two at home and then won four straight against the Atlanta Braves.
“Hopefully we’ll get our offense going when we get back to Motown,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said in a news conference. “Up to this point they’ve outplayed us.”
The odds of Las Vegas bookmakers before the start of the World Series suggested a 62 percent chance Detroit will win the title. Detroit was listed as the -170 money line favorite, meaning a bettor would have to wager $170 to win $100, while the Giants were +150.
The Giants scored on a double-play grounder in the seventh inning and Hunter Pence’s sacrifice fly in the eighth. The teams had a total of seven hits a night after combining for 19.
While the Giants won the opener 8-3 on three home runs by Pablo Sandoval that traveled an estimated 1,193 feet (364 meters) in total, they took Game 2 with precision plays.
A bunt single by Gregor Blanco that dribbled along the third-base line and stopped about a ball’s width inside fair territory helped set up the Giants’ first run.
The Tigers came closest to scoring in the second inning when Prince Fielder was thrown out at home while trying to score from first base on Delmon Young’s double with no outs. Giants catcher Buster Posey swept his glove across to tag out Fielder a moment before he slid across home plate.
“It’s all about executing, and tonight we did a great job of it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in a news conference. “We play a lot of close games and these guys are used to it. We wish we could do things a little bit easier, but that’s not our way.”
Bumgarner allowed only Young’s double and a single by Omar Infante in the fourth inning. He struck out eight. Santiago Casilla pitched the eighth inning and Sergio Romo got the save with a perfect ninth.
Fister, who stayed in the game despite being hit in the right side of the head by Blanco’s line drive in the second inning, took the loss while allowing one run on four hits in six innings.
“I was scared to death when it happened,” Leyland said. “You always worry about something like that after it happens. Maybe you’re alright and then you come sit in the dugout and all of a sudden you’ve got a bad headache or something.”