Game 2 of this World Series most definitely did not follow the Game 1 script that we witnessed Wednesday night. On this cool evening, Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister wowed both sides with an impressive arsenal of pitches that put location and movement beyond speed and power. Either San Francisco or Detroit full-well deserved to come out of AT&T Park with a victory, but it was the home team that emerged with a tense 2-0 win and a stifling 2-0 advantage in the series.
Bumgarner was sensational over seven innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out eight Tigers and hitting all the spots around the zone that he intended. The lack of precision that had haunted him through two previous postseason starts was, for the most part, absent through 86 pitches (54 of which were strikes). The closest the Tigers came to scoring was when Prince Fielder was sent home on a double to left field by Delmon Young in the second. Fielder was running all the way from first, having just been plunked on the right arm fat by a pitch, but Posey's tag from the relay man caught Fielder on the ass just before his leg hit the plate. Replays showed that Dan Iassogna got the call right, despite the lingering incredulity from Fielder and Jim Leyland.
Fister matched his Giants counterpart for most of the night, even after a nasty line drive caught him square in the skull during the second inning. He emerged unscathed, and although he was ultimately tagged with the loss, you can hardly say he was at any reasonable level of fault. He was pulled after 114 pitches, just six short of his season-high, when Hunter Pence knocked a leadoff single in the seventh to left field. Leyland seemed hesitant perhaps to go to his bullpen too early tonight, especially after it was taxed so much in relief of Justin Verlander in Game 1, but left-hander Drew Smyly came in to face Brandon Belt, who actually hits lefties with some success. Belt subsequently walked, and Gregor Blanco dropped down a bunt for the ages, one that the Tigers infield let try and roll foul. Alas, the Bunt Gods would not be denied and the ball stayed fair. Batting next with the bases loaded and no outs, Brandon Crawford bounced into a (somewhat historic) double play that brought Pence home with the first run of the game. Ryan Theriot then came on as a pinch-hitter for Bumgarner and struck out, but that was all the home team would need. Six defensive outs and one Hunter Pence sacrifice fly later, the Giants had locked up a surprising 2-0 series lead.
And now, we move on to The Always Pivotal Game 3 in Detroit on Saturday night. Anibal Sanchez will be pitted against Ryan Vogelsong, though the real fun may come on Sunday with Matt Cain going up against Max Scherzer. For the first time in these playoffs, the Giants have a commanding series lead on someone, and the Tigers will need to win two out of three at Comerica Park to have a chance at pulling this out. Can they do it? Are the Giants destined for a second World Series title in three years? Fire away below.