Giants take two-game World Series lead
The San Francisco Giants find themselves in a position that they have not held thus far in the playoffs: they are holding a two-game lead. After coming back from 2-0 deficit against the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS and and a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Giants are up 2-0 on the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.
Manager Bruce Bochy gave Barry Zito the Game 1 start after his dominant showing in Game 5 of the NLCS. As Joe Buck commented on during the game, Zito was never mind-blowing, but he was extremely effective. Despite being pulled in the fifth inning with two men on, two out and the ALCS MVP, Delmon Young, at the plate, Zito continued to pitch at the top of his game. His fastball only reached the mid-80s, but the east to west movement made it hard to hit. He also had a wicked 12 to six curveball that befuddled the Detroit batters. He left the game after allowing six hits and one run. Lincecum continued to perform better in relief, pitching two shutout innings and striking out five batters.
The real story from Game 1 was the Giants offense. Pablo Sandoval went 4-for-4 and joined the ranks of the Albert Pujols, Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth, as one of the only players to hit three home runs in a single World Series game. Two of his home runs were off of All-star and former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. Marco Scutaro extended his playoff hit streak to 11 games as he went 2-for-4. Zito also contributed to the offensive end, adding an RBI single and extending the streak of Giants pitchers driving in runs to four games. Giants won 8-3.
Game 2 was much more of a pitchers duel than Game 1. Madison Bumgarner was given the start in Game 2 against the impressive Doug Fister, and he pitched more like the Bumgarner from the 2010 World Series than of the Bumgarner from the 2012 NLDS and NLCS. His control was on and he was hitting his spots a lot better than in his previous outings. He pitched seven innings and had eight strike outs. The Giants defense, which has been outstanding in the playoffs, provided the most important play of the game. In the top of the second, Prince Fielder, who was on first after being hit by a pitch, was sent home on a double to the left field corner. Gregor Blanco missed the cutoff man, but Scutaro, who was positioned right behind the cutoff, caught the ball and fired home to Posey, who tagged Fielder right before he tagged the plate.
Fister pitched five innings and was pulled after allowing a lead off single in the bottom of the seventh. Drew Smyly relieved Fister and walked the first batter he faced, Brandon Belt. Gregor Blanco reached first and advanced the runners after he lay down a bunt that the Tigers infield waited to roll foul, but stayed fair. Brandon Crawford hit into a double play, but Pence scored the Giants first run. In the bottom of the eighth, the Giants scored an insurance run off a sacrifice fly by Hunter Pence. Scutaro went 0-for-4 and snapped his 11-game hit streak. The Giants won 2-0.
Ryan Vogelsong will face off against Anibal Sanchez in Game 3 is Saturday, Oct. 27 in Detroit.