DETROIT – Once again they trudged dejectedly to the dugout, these vast, expensive sluggers who are supposed to carry the Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder were supposed to make a difference in the World Series. They were supposed to bring the Tigers a world championship. Or at least make this a close series.
Instead, another combination of San Francisco Giants pitchers – this time Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum – shut them down in a 2-0 victory in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night. Now the Giants are a game away from winning their second World Series in three years.
For the World Series, Cabrera, the Triple Crown winner, is hitting .222. Fielder just .100. They look overmatched by the Giants, who have kept them off-balance with a wonderful mix of fastballs and off-speed pitches. The Tigers have scored just three runs in this series, all of those runs coming in the first game.
''We couldn't get the killer hit or the killer blow,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
It isn't a shock that San Francisco's starters have been sailing through this series. After all, the Giants have two Cy Young Award winners in Lincecum and Barry Zito, and Vogelsong and Game 2 star Madison Bumgarner have had great success in recent years as well as the man who will pitch Game 4, Matt Cain. But Lincecum never seemed like himself this year and Zito has been a shell of his Cy Young self.
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They have found themselves in this series, however, pitching brilliantly with Bumgarner and Vogelsong. Detroit has had no answer for them, which has put the Tigers in danger of being swept out of the World Series six years after losing in five games to the Cardinals.
Vogelsong went 5 2/3 innings, giving up all of the Tigers' five hits. Even though he walked four, Vogelsong said he felt his stuff was better than what he had against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, where he gave up two earned runs and struck out 13 across 14 innings.
"I'm blessed. I really am, I'm blessed," Vogelsong said in a postgame TV interview. "I don't really know what else to say other than that."
The fifth inning was Vogelsong's biggest moment. With the bases loaded and one out, and the Comerica Park crowd roaring, he struck out Quintin Berry and got Cabrera to pop up to shortstop Brandon Crawford.
The double-play ball also helped the Giants' starter, as Fielder hit into one in the first inning and Berry followed suit in the third.
As futile as the Tigers have been offensively, the Giants continue to be resourceful. The few times they have put runners on base, they have been effective. Game 2's winning run came on a single, a walk, a perfect bunt and a double play. Game 3's was more traditional but also very sudden.
Hunter Pence led off the second inning on Saturday with a walk, then stole second. With one out and Pence on third via a wild pitch, Gregor Blanco smashed a fly ball over the head of center fielder Austin Jackson. As Pence easily scored, Blanco raced around the bases for a triple. Two batters later, he scored San Francisco's second run when Crawford singled.
That was all the scoring the Giants needed.
Their pitchers would take care of everything else.
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