SAN FRANCISCO — They have their reasons around here for calling Giants baseball torture. But the first two games of the World Series turned out to be nothing but a San Francisco treat.
After scoring 11 in Wednesday's opening-night victory, the Giants rolled to another uncharacteristically easy win in Game 2 on Thursday, shutting out the Rangers 9-0 to take a two-games-to-none lead as the best-of-seven series shifts to Arlington, Texas, with Game 3 on Saturday night.
"Well, it's nice to do it a little bit easier," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "As you know, we don't do things easy."
After outslugging the Rangers in the opener, the Giants got back to their usual methods of operation Thursday: a brilliant start, with Matt Cain working into the eighth; strong work by the bullpen; and an offense that had done just enough, until an eighth-inning implosion by Texas' bullpen led to seven runs.
"It was a torture game up until the bottom of the eighth there," Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff said, sporting only a T-shirt and his red "rally" thong.
But by the end of the game, it was something to laugh at.
Having scored more than four runs only once in the past 4½ weeks, the Giants have tallied 20 in two nights against what is supposed to be the best team in the American League.
"If you put a hundred (dollars) on the first two games being over whatever the runs were," Huff said, "you're not a millionaire. You're a billionaire."
"It's crazy," second baseman Freddy Sanchez said.
"I'm just kind of speechless about it," veteran infielder Mark DeRosa said. "Twenty runs out of this offense in the first two games of the World Series, I don't know if it's a record, but it has to be close."
Edgar Renteria, one of several Giants veterans used in a limited role this season, came up big, delivering a homer with one out in the fifth inning. Then Juan Uribe, adding to his collection of big postseason moments, came through in the seventh, singling in Cody Ross, who had drawn a leadoff walk.
The Giants broke the game open, much to the delight of the orange-and-black-wearing crowd of 43,622 at AT&T Park, with seven runs in the eighth as the Rangers relievers became the gang that couldn't throw straight.
Derek Holland and Mark Lowe teamed to walk four consecutive batters to force in two runs. Then they made it worse, Lowe giving up a two-run single to Renteria and Michael Kirkman allowing run-scoring hits to Aaron Rowand and Andres Torres.
As disheartening as it is to fall behind 0-2, the Rangers could take some solace, or find more frustration, in how close they came to the game going differently.
Barely a couple of inches when Ian Kinsler's fifth-inning drive to centerfield hit on top of the wall and bounced back onto the field for a double, to the surprise of everyone, including Cain. "I thought it was a home run," he said.
And another couple of inches the next inning when Giants rightfielder Ross, after missing on a diving catch of Josh Hamilton's single, managed to smother the ball, keeping Michael Young from advancing past second.
"I don't think we caught any breaks yet," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We certainly don't feel like we're defeated."
The Giants, while careful not to get too cocky, can be comfortable with the history they now have on their side as they seek their first world championship since 1954. Of the 51 teams to take 2-0 Series leads, 40 have gone on to win the title, including the last seven, and 13 of the last 14.
"We've put ourselves in a good situation," Cain said.
And a lot of credit goes to Cain, the 26-year-old who is the veteran of the Giants' homegrown rotation and continued his remarkable first venture into the postseason, having now pitched 21⅓ innings over three starts without allowing an earned run. He is one of five pitchers in MLB history to throw at least 20 innings in a single postseason without allowing an earned run.
The closest he came to real trouble Thursday was in the sixth, when the Rangers had men on second and third with one out. But Cain was able, getting Nelson Cruz to foul out and Ian Kinsler to fly out.
"Pretty dominant," Huff said. "He's a battler. He's a warrior. No lineup looks like it bothers him. He's a horse. He's that big old country boy winging it up there."