CHARLOTTE, October 28, 2012 – Though they were down two games to none and the game time temperature was in the mid-40s, the Detroit Tigers were back home at Comerica Park where they played great baseball all season.
The task at hand was to win all three in Detroit because winning only two would force them to win two games back in San Francisco.
The Giants had other plans however. Though it would be nice to win the Series in front of their rabid hometown fans, San Francisco was looking to wrap it up on the road. They made their intentions known by scoring first for the third straight game.
After a strong first inning on the mound by Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, he immediately ran into trouble in the second by walking leadoff hitter Hunter Pence of four pitches. Sanchez then struck out Brandon Belt looking, but Pence stole second on the pitch and went to third on a wild pitch with Gregor Blanco at the plate.
Blanco wasted no time after that by drilling a stand-up triple to deep right center, scoring Pence with the game’s first run.
San Francisco DH Hector Sanchez took a called third for out number two before Brandon Crawford drove Blanco home with a single to center. When the dust had cleared, the Giants were on top again, 2-0. It was a 31-pitch inning for Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers were back in the dugout still looking for their first lead in the Series.
The frustrations at the plate continued for Detroit when it looked as though they had rallies going in the first and third innings against Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong. With runners at first and second and one out, Detroit grounded into inning-ending double plays on both occasions.
In the Detroit half of the fifth, the Tigers got singles from Alex Avila and Omar Infante before Austin Jackson walked to load the bases with one out. The quiet Motor City crowd had come to life with the prospects of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder waiting just behind Quintin Berry.
Surprisingly, Detroit was now outhitting San Francisco in the game, 5 to 4. But Berry struck out, swinging on five pitches and Cabrera hit a weak pop fly to short to end the threat.
The Giants are now riding a wave of momentum with six straight wins and going 53 straight innings without trailing in a game.
After game three, the Tigers have gone 18 consecutive scoreless innings and amassing a feeble total of three runs in the Series.
Day Off Is No Excuse
Some analysts are now speculating that Detroit’s five-day layoff, after beating the Yankees in the ALCS, is taking its toll. Perhaps a possible explanation for a lackluster game one for the Tigers, but three games into the Fall Classic it is clear that San Francisco’s brilliant pitching and stellar defense are the difference.
Except for the second inning, Sanchez was superb. In seven innings of work for the Tigers, he struck out 8, walked only 1, allowed 6 hits and threw just 86 more pitches in the other six innings.
Vogelsong was equally sharp with an outing that included 4 walks and 3 strikeouts while yielding just five hits in five and two-thirds shutout innings.
As the 8th inning unfolded, it was now a bullpen game, and that did not bode well for the Tigers. Tim Lincecum came on in relief of Vogelsong with Detroit’s big lumber at the plate in the bottom of the inning.
Lincecum quickly retired Miguel Cabrera on an outstanding diving stab and throw for the first out. Prince Field followed by striking out on three pitches. Delmon Young reached an on error by Crawford, but Andy Dirks struck out to end the inning.
With one final desperate hope in the ninth, Jhonny Peralta hit a fly ball down the line to deep left field that could have started a ninth inning rally. Once again the Giants defense was outstanding as Gregor Blanco made a great catch to rob Peralta of a possible double.
Final score, 2-0, Giants. How big is that achievement? Detroit was shutout only twice during the entire regular season.
San Francisco leads the Series, 3-0. While there is precedent in the playoffs for coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win (the Red Sox were the first to do it against the Yankees in 2004), no team has ever accomplished the feat in the World Series.
One interesting bit of baseball trivia to wrap up the game: the last time a National League team threw back-to-back shutouts in a World Series was 1919 in the infamous Black Sox season. The Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago White Sox in the Series, five games to three, winning game four, 2-0 and game five, 5-0. The Series was the best of nine games during that era.
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 WBTV, 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.