By: Malaika Bobino
San Francisco, CA – Off to another great start, you wonder how the Detroit Tigers have made it this far? A year filled with ups and downs, the San Francisco Giants have finally pulled it together. The season ended with a questions regarding their starting pitchers and that is now behind them.
The Giants beat the Tigers 2-0 and stay undefeated in the World Series. They have now won five consecutive postseason games for the first time in the World Series. Also a second night of outstanding pitching and this time credit Madison Bumgarner.
“Well, I thought the first inning would be a critical inning for him, for his confidence, also just to see where he was at” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s done such a great job for us. I really thought he needed a break, and I thought he benefited from it. Getting some rest both mentally and physically, and he went out there and pitched like we know he can.”
Losing his previous two starts with a 11.25 ERA brought had many lose their faith in what he can do on the mound. But tonight, Bumgarner proved all naysayers wrong giving a stellar performance much like he did back in 2010 when he faced the Texas Rangers in Game 4.
Madison became the fifth pitcher in World Series history to toss consecutive games of at least 7.0 scoreless innings with at least six strikeouts. He fanned eight, yielded two hits and allowed no runs in seven innings. A personal season best in striking out eight, the south-paw definitely earned his respect.
“Every pitch felt pretty good tonight,” said Bumgarner. “It felt a lot better than it has been the last few games. The biggest thing was just mixing it in and out, up and down, trying to keep them off balance the best we could.”
The game was delayed after a frightening hit on pitcher Doug Fister in the second frame. Gregor Blanco’s single to center field bounced of the side of Fister’s head before landing mid-field. After the team doctors and manager came out they gave him the OK to continue to pitch.
San Francisco scored their first run in the seventh when Hunter Pence singled followed by Brandon Belt’s walk and Blanco’s single on an infield bunt. Three (catcher, pitcher and third baseman) Detroit players crowded around the ball thinking it was a foul ball but the umpire called it fair. Brandon Crawford grounded out to score Pence.
That Brandon Belt walk was a really big at-bat,” Hunter said. “It was huge. To get on with nobody out and then draw a walk, you’re in a great situation, a great spot where Gregor [Blanco] can bump over me.”
The second and final hit came in the eighth when the Tigers bullpen completely fell apart. Loading the bases with three walks, two intentional, Angel Pagan was once again spectacular. He stole second and Pence’s sacrifice fly brought him home.
Fister lasted six innings, giving up four hits, one run, one walk and three strikeouts. Detroit made three pitching changes and that made no difference in trying to shut down the Giants offense. With Jose Valverde out of the closer’s role, the Tigers went with Drew Smyly instead of Phil Coke.
“If Valverde was ready, we probably would’ve had Coke in that situation but Smyly did fine,” said manager Jim Leyland. “To be honest with you we were absolutely thrilled to come out of that inning with one run, absolutely thrilled. We got the double play ball and got out of it and it actually worked out really good for us.”
Detroit heads back home to Comerica Park down 0-2, where they owned the second-best home record in baseball during the regular season and are 4-0 this postseason. But Game 3 and 4 are headline with two of San Francisco’s best pitchers Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain.