- Last Updated: 9:55 AM, October 26, 2012
- Posted: 1:43 AM, October 26, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO — Well, it’s pretty apparent what’s going on here, isn’t it?
The Giants, having served their extensive penance for leaving New York after the 1957 season, are now in good with the baseball gods.
How else can we explain what transpired last night at AT&T Park, what’s occurring in this World Series and what we have seen in two of the last three Octobers?
The underdogs leave their home up two games to nothing after a taut, 2-0 victory in Game 2, a contest that highlighted not only the Giants’ pitching excellence but also some good luck and some poor decision-making on the visiting Tigers’ part.
To think, the Giants had to work out West for 53 years before finally giving this ultra-funky city its first baseball parade two years ago, and they sit in excellent position for a second such celebration in three years.
All of those disappointments and heartbreakers — Bobby Richardson catching Willie McCovey’s screaming line drive in 1962, the A’s earthquake-interrupted sweep of 1989, the Angels’ shocking comeback of 2002 — seem like ancient history. Water under the Bay Bridge. The past bitterness that allowed the present to feel all the sweeter.
Left-hander Madison Bumgarner started Game 2 for the Giants having tallied an 11.25 ERA in his first two starts of the postseason, not exactly creating a plethora of confidence. So, of course he twirled seven shutout innings over the Tigers, who performed their tribute to the inept Yankees team they swept in the American League Championship Series.
Bumgarner’s biggest jam came in the second inning, when Prince Fielder started things by taking a pitch to his upper body and tried to motor home on Delmon Young’s double into the left-field corner. Why Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont felt compelled to send the extra-large Fielder home with no outs isn’t clear, but it sure backfired. Though Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco air-mailed his throw, second baseman Marco Scutaro recovered to grab the relay and fire it home, where Buster Posey tagged Fielder on his posterior before Detroit’s first baseman could touch the plate. The Tigers went down quietly after that.
Though Detroit starter Doug Fister pitched admirably well, lasting into the seventh, it’s not clear the Tigers did the right thing by keeping the right-hander in the game. Fister took a Blanco shot to the head in the second inning; the ball ricocheted into center field for a single. Wouldn’t it have been the medically safe move to take Fister out of the game for a CT scan?
When Fister issued a leadoff single to Hunter Pence in the seventh, Tigers manager Jim Leyland finally lifted him for lefty Drew Smyly, who walked Brandon Belt. In an obvious bunt situation, Blanco laid a beauty down the third-base line on which Smyly, third baseman Miguel Cabrera and catcher Gerald Laird and watch the ball roll, roll ... and die, in fair territory, resting on the foul line.
With the bases loaded, and with the Tigers showing little life on offense, Detroit opted to play its defense back, conceding a run and going for the double play. That achieved its purpose, as Brandon Crawford hit into a 6-4-3 twin-killing that allowed Pence to come home and break a 0-0 tie. Nevertheless, the Tigers’ offense finished up meekly against Giants relievers Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, and now they face a virtual must-win Game 3 tomorrow night at their own Comerica Park.
This series has felt like a repeat to those of us who bore witness to the 2010 Fall Classic. Then, an underwhelming Giants offense upended the favored Rangers, their high-powered offense and their ace Cliff Lee. This time, it’s the Tigers, their high-profile offense and their ace Justin Verlander.
It defies logic. Strange stuff happens in October, though, and the Giants, armed with one of the best ballparks and fan bases in the industry, are due a few breaks. They put in their time, generated enough misery for a few lifetimes. Two titles in three years would make San Francisco the new capital of the baseball world.Follow @NYPostsports