CHARLOTTE, October 26, 2012 — Two things were certain before Game 2 of the 2012 World Series. Pablo Sandoval wasn’t going to hit three more home runs and the Detroit Tigers, who have not been a good team on the road this year, needed a split.
The pitching duel that had been expected on Wednesday came one day later as Doug Fister and Madison Bumgarner matched each other through the first six innings. By then Bumgarner had allowed just two hits, while Fister had yielded three. Bumgarner had the edge in strikeouts with eight to Fister’s three even though he had only thrown 72 pitches, a whopping 35 less than his Detroit counterpart.
Somehow those numbers made it feel like something was going to break loose in the seventh. When Miguel Cabrera led off with a walk, Prince Fielder had an opportunity to ruin Bumgarner’s gem. No such luck. The Giants starter got Fielder ground into a double play before Delmon Young grounded out to short and another Detroit goose egg went up on the board.
The seventh was a different story for the Tigers. A leadoff single to left by Hunter Pence chased Fister after throwing 114 pitches. Detroit went to its bullpen, which has been erratic during the postseason.
With Drew Smyly on in relief, Brandon Belt walked to put runners at first and second with nobody out.
But when things go bad in baseball, sometimes they just keep going that way. Grego Blanco dropped a bunt down the third baseline on a 3-1 pitch that Detroit didn’t field, hoping it would roll foul. It didn’t. Blanco had a single and the bases were loaded.
Brandon Crawford followed by grounding into a double play, but it was all the Giants needed to score the game’s first run.
San Francisco kept the pressure on in the eighth when Angel Pagan walked and then stole second after Marco Scutaro struck out. Pablo Sandoval was intentionally walked, bringing Buster Posey to the plate with runners at first and second with one out.
With Octavio Dotel on in relief of Smyly, Posey walked on four pitches to load the bases. Hunter Pence added an important insurance run with a sacrifice fly to right making the score, 2-0.
The fourth inning was a highlight film of both San Francisco’s defense and Detroit’s frustration. With Omar Infante at first after a single, Miguel Cabrera rifled a line drive to third that was speared by Sandoval to rob the Tigers triple crown winner of a certain double.
Prince Fielder then crushed a long fly ball to left that fell just short of a home run. The final insult came when Infante tried to steal second and got picked off as Giants pitcher Doug Fister threw behind him allowing Brandon Belt to cut him down at second.
Fielder was also thrown out at the plate in the second trying to score on a Delmon Young double.
The Tigers came into the series well rested with the advantage of having their pitching rotation set while San Francisco was forced to adjust their starters. With the two game edge heading to Detroit, the Giants rotation is now back in sync giving them a huge advantage on the road.
Experts have long said the key to winning the World Series is pitching. While some might say the Detroit bats have gone silent, it is because the Giants have had superb pitching and outstanding defense.
The Series now heads to Detroit on Saturday, and the Tigers have a Giant hurdle to overcome.
Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. Taylor played professional baseball for four years including two seasons under Hall of Fame manager, Sparky Anderson. He played all 29-innings of the longest continuous professional baseball game in history.
He was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBT, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 70 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries.
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