DETROIT, Mich. (CBS SF) — Here they go again in Game 3. The San Francisco Giants took advantage of early opportunities to score and delivered nearly flawless pitching Saturday to shutout the Detroit Tigers 2-0 for a second consecutive night in the 2012 World Series and take a commanding three-game lead.
San Francisco, the first team to throw consecutive Series shutouts in nearly a half-century, is now brimming with confidence and can wrap up a four-game sweep Sunday night at Comerica Park for its second title in three years. As for Detroit, a grim reality is now setting in: No team has ever lost the first three games and rebounded to win the Series.
“I’ll say this: The club is playing well,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The Giants offense got off to a quick start against Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez and are now 9-1 when scoring first this postseason.
Gregor Blanco hit a run-scoring easy triple off the wall in cavernous right-center field in the second inning to drive home Hunter Pence — who drew a four-pitch walk, stole second as Brandon Belt struck out and went to third on a wild pitch high fastball that tailed way off target and glanced off catcher Alex Avila’s mitt.
Blanco himself then scored moments later on a Brandon Crawford single that fell just in front of speedy center fielder Austin Jackson.
Winning Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong allowed just five hits in 5 2/3 innings, before being relieved by Tim Lincecum and closer Sergio Romo, and induced two inning-ending, double-play grounders. The Tigers led the majors in that category this season, grounding into 156 twin killings.
Vogelsong has now allowed one run or less in seven straight starts dating to the regular season. He joined Blue Moon Odom (1972) and Burt Hooton (1981) as the only pitchers to make four straight starts in one postseason without yielding more than one run.
“I knew my stuff was pretty good,” Vogelsong said. “I was really pumped up to be out there.”
Once again, Prince Fielder failed to come through for the Tigers.
With two runners on in the bottom of the first inning, the meaty slugger grounded into one of those inning-ending double plays. Giants first baseman Belt made a nice pick of a wide and low throw from shortstop Crawford, barely keeping his foot on the bag it appeared.
“It is what it is,” said Fielder, who is 0 for 5 with runners on base in the World Series. He began the night hitting just .205 with a homer and three RBIs this postseason.
There was another squandered opportunity in the third inning for the Tigers. After consecutive singles put runners at first and second base, speedy rookie Quintin Berry grounded into the other inning-ending double play on his first pitch.
Then in the fifth inning, the Tigers again failed to get a much-needed big hit.
They loaded the bases with one out, but Berry struck out swinging at a letter-high fastball. Cabrera, a .416 career hitter with the bases loaded, got jammed by Vogelsong and popped out to shortstop. It was excellent clutch pitching by Vogelsong, who really hit his spots. He stayed up and away against Berry and went inside on Cabrera’s hands.
“We couldn’t get the killer hit or the killer blow,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, whose team was 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position during Game 3 and 1 for 11 in the Series.
Cabrera, Fielder and the Tigers were shut out twice all season. Now make that twice in a row in the World Series.
(Copyright 2012 CBS San Francisco. Wire services contributed to this report. All rights reserved.)