SAN FRANCISCO — The Tigers have to hope a day off and a 30-degree drop in temperature when the World Series resumes Saturday in Detroit can slow down the Giants.
Because the way the first two games have gone, everything looks like a San Francisco treat.
Consider some of the key elements that led to Thursday's 2-0 win that gave the Giants a commanding two-games-to-none lead:
• They decide to start Madison Bumgarner, who was so bad his first two postseason starts he was dropped from the San Francisco rotation, and the 23-year-old delivers seven solid innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight.
• Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont tries to score king-sized Prince Fielder from first with no outs in the second when former Ray Delmon Young doubles into the leftfield corner, and the Giants execute perfectly and throw him out at the plate.
• A Gregor Blanco bunt rolls 40 feet up the third-base line and stops inches fair to load the bases in the seventh, then a Brandon Crawford double-play grounder scores the Giants' first run.
Of the 52 teams that have taken 2-0 Series leads, 41 have gone on to win the championship, including the past eight and 14 of the past 15, with the 1996 Braves (vs. the Yankees) the lone exception.
After being blown out 8-3 in the opener, the Tigers showed more competitiveness — and, in the case of starter Doug Fister, some distinct toughness — in Game 2 before 42,982 on another picture-perfect night at electric AT&T Park.
With one on and two outs in the second, Fister was struck on the right side of the head by a line drive off Blanco's bat, the ball caroming into shallow centerfield.
Catcher Gerald Laird ran to the mound and waved for assistance from the dugout, but Fister wasn't fazed and insisted to manager Jim Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand that he could stay in.
The Fox TV microphones picked up their brief conversation:
"You okay?" Rand asked.
"Yeah. Got it in the back of the head," Fister said.
Fister went down on one knee as he tried to avoid being hit but popped up to track the ball, which gave the Giants men on first and second as Buster Posey opened the inning with a single.
Fister made it tougher on himself by walking Crawford to load the bases but then escaped by retiring Bumgarner, who hit a looping liner to short.
From there, Fister was untouchable for a while, retiring 11 straight until Pablo Sandoval — the Game 1 star with three homers — singled with two outs in the sixth.
The game was scoreless into the seventh, when the Giants broke through.
Hunter Pence led off with a single to left that chased Fister. Brandon Belt worked a walk off rookie reliever Drew Smyly, then Blanco bounced a bunt that rolled about 40 feet down the third-base line and stopped, inches fair, to load the bases.
Crawford, the local kid who grew up watching the Giants, did just enough, bouncing a ball to second base, the run scoring as the Tigers turned a double play.
The Giants added a run in the eighth without — of course — even getting a hit. Angel Pagan walked then stole second with one out. The Tigers walked Sandoval intentionally, then Posey unintentionally, to load the bases, and Pence hit a sac fly to right.
The Tigers had a big — large, hefty, sizable, etc. — opportunity in the second when Fielder was hit by a pitch and Young followed with a double into the leftfield corner that momentarily eluded Blanco.
Fielder was waved around by Lamont, a somewhat questionable move with no outs, and seemed to slow the further he went. He was tagged out as he slid across the plate, Blanco relaying to second baseman Marco Scutaro, and catcher Posey doing a good job with a swipe tag on Fielder's backside.
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]
Giants 2, Tigers 0
Game 1: Giants 8, Tigers 3
Thursday: Giants 2, Tigers 0
Saturday: at Detroit, 8:07
Sunday: at Detroit, 8:15
Monday: at Detroit, 8:07 *
Wednesday: at San Francisco, 8:07 *
Nov. 1: at San Francisco, 8:07 *
TV: Ch. 13 * if necessary