(Presswire)Score and situation: Behind a strong pitching performance from Madison Bumgarner and their bullpen, the San Francisco Giants protected their home field again on Thursday night and took a commanding 2-0 series lead with a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
Leading lads: After a pair of rough postseason outings, Madison Bumgarner was darn near untouchable over his seven scoreless innings. In fact, the Tigers really only threatened him once. That second-inning rally was killed when Prince Fielder was cut down at home on Delmon Young's double. From that point on Detroit managed only three base runners against MadBum. One was picked off. Another was wiped away on a double play.
Gregor Blanco quietly had another solid game for San Francisco with a pair of hits and continued strong defense. He played a small but important role in the two biggest moments of the game. And honestly, kudos to Doug Fister for not only remaining in the game after being struck on the side of the head by Blanco's second-inning line drive, but for pitching a fantastic game. Unfortunately, he'll go in the books as the losing pitcher, but with one run allowed over six innings, he clearly deserved a better fate.
Head hangers: It would be unfair to single out a Detroit Tiger hitter in this one because they all contributed very little to the cause. Reliever Drew Smyly struggled with his command in his World Series debut, walking three over his 1 1/3 innings. He allowed Fister's run to score in the seventh and then allowed one of his own in the eighth.
Key play: Gene Lamont's decision to send Fielder home on Delmon Young's second-inning double ruined Detroit's one and only scoring chance. Lamont made the decision after left fielder Gregor Blanco had trouble corralling the ball off the side wall, but he was about to recover and hit Marco Scutaro with a strong, accurate throw. Scutaro in turn made a strong relay to the plate where Buster Posey applied the tag on Fielder's backside just before his leg crossed. Instead of second and third with no outs, the air was let out of Detroit's balloon and they went down quietly.
(Presswire)Not far behind would be Gregor Blanco's sacrifice bunt attempt that hugged the line halfway to third base and ultimately stayed fair to load the bases. One batter later, Brandon Crawford grounded into a double play to score San Francisco's first run, but that inning could have gone in any direction had Blanco been retired.
Interesting stat I: According to Elias, Madison Bumgarner is the first pitcher to begin his World Series career with 15 or more scoreless innings since Bruce Hurst did it with the Boston Red Sox in 1986. Bumgarner also tossed eight scoreless in Game 4 of the 2010 Series against the Texas Rangers.
Interesting stat II: Hide your eyes Tigers fans. In the 52 times a World Series team has started up 2-0, they've gone on to win it 41 times. That includes the last eight times. The Giants started up 2-0 on the Rangers in 2010 and won it five games.
What they'll be talking about: With Brandon McCarthy's skull fracture suffered on Sept. 5 still fresh in everyone's mind, the Tigers' decision to allow Doug Fister to continue pitching will spark a few debates. Granted, he showed no ill-effects and was able to throw 114 pitches, but anytime you're dealing with a potential serious head injury it creates a lot of uneasiness.
What's next: With their backs against the wall, the Tigers will head back home to host Game 3 on Saturday night. Charged with the task of turning the series around will be right-hander Anibal Sanchez, although he'll need a little bit more support from his offense than Justin Verlander and Doug Fister have received. He'll be opposed by NLCS Game 7 hero Ryan Vogelsong. First is slated for 8:07 ET.