Score and situation: The San Francisco Giants moved one step closer to a second world championship in three years with their 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night. They have now won six games in a row overall and hold a commanding 3-0 series lead with a chance to sweep on Sunday.
Leading lads: Ryan Vogelsong would be the first to tell you this wasn't his sharpest outing, but it still added up to 5 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball and his third victory this postseason. Vogelsong allowed five hits and walked four on 104 pitches, but mixed in three strikeouts, two double plays and forced Miguel Cabrera to popup with the bases loaded to keep Detroit off the scoreboard. He then gave way to Tim Lincecum, who pitched out of a small jam in the sixth and then breezed through more innings to bridge the gap to closer Sergio Romo.
Also, Gregor Blanco keeps showing up in the right place at the right time for San Francisco. His second RBI triple opened the scoring against Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez, by the way, didn't appear long for this game after the Giants struck for two early runs and elevated his pitch count to 47 through two innings. However, he did put that slow start behind him and pitched some of his best ball all season over the next five innings, allowing only three singles and striking out eight total.
Head hangers: It's much easier to single out one Tiger tonight than it had been over the first two games. Quintin Berry, who finished 0 for 3 with a walk, was right in the middle of two huge lost opportunities for Detroit's offense. In the third, Berry grounded into an inning-ending double play with two aboard. And then after Austin Jackson drew a walk to load the bases in the fifth, he was unable to get the play in ball ahead of Miguel Cabrera. Come to think of it, after the third inning result, maybe Berry's strikeout wasn't the worst case scenario as it actually allowed Cabrera to hit.
Key play: Here's the worst case scenario: Miguel Cabrera didn't come through in that bases loaded situation, and it's possible his inning-ended popup will down as the key play for the entire series. That felt like the moment where Cabrera either turned this series around for Detroit, or San Francisco firmly establishes their control and we continue down the same path we've been traveling since Wednesday night. I suppose you could throw the Berry double play and Prince Fielder's first inning double play in there as well, but neither were as soul-crushing as Cabrera not delivering.
Interesting stat: Dating back to the regular season, Ryan Vogelsong has allowed one or zero runs in each of his last seven starts. According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the only other pitcher to accomplish that this season was Atlanta Braves righthander Kris Medlen.
What they'll be talking about: What will it take for Detroit to jumpstart their offense? Is it as simple as one timely hit, or are they simply overmatched by San Francisco's deep and experienced pitching staff? Also, what, if any, changes will Jim Leyland make to his lineup? Scuffling right fielder Quintin Berry would seem like a logical candidate to ride pine in Game 4 if Leyland elects to shake things up.
What's next: The end of the 2012 baseball season could be upon us as we head into Game 4 on Sunday night. Depending the on outcome, we'll either have a Game 5 on Monday night or a new world champion. Matt Cain will hope it's the latter, as he's slated to start for San Francisco. He'll be opposed by Detroit's hard-throwing righthander Max Scherzer. First pitch will again be scheduled for 8:07 ET.