Armed and accelerating, the San Francisco Giants became the first team to throw consecutive World Series shutouts in nearly a half-century, blanking Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on a chilly Saturday night for a commanding 3-0 lead.
“I’ll say this: The club is playing well,” Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said.
No team has ever blown such a huge margin in the World Series. And with the way Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and the Giants are pitching, it seemed unlikely the Tigers would even score a run, yet alone win a game.
Gregor Blanco hit an RBI triple and trotted home on Brandon Crawford’s single in the second inning, and that was ample for the Giants. Timely hits, combined with another dominant effort on the mound and sharp defense, put them close to their second title in three years.
After playing a nearly perfect Game 3, the Giants will turn to Mr. Perfect Game himself — ace Matt Cain — to try for a sweep Sunday against Max Scherzer.
At this rate, it appeared only a bailout by the San Francisco staff could help the Motor City.
Don’t count on it. Switching to an AL park, chilly weather and towel-waving fans ready to rock didn’t slow down the Giants at all.
“Well, it’s a good situation, but there’s nothing been done yet,” Bochy said. “It’s a number, just like I said about two (wins). Now it’s three. But that’s not the Series.”
The Giants won their franchise-record sixth straight postseason game and haven’t trailed in any of them. Coming off a sweep of the Yankees in the AL championship series, the Tigers haven’t held a lead in the Series.
“We couldn’t get the killer hit or the killer blow,” Tigers Manager Jim Leyland said.
Vogelsong, a career journeyman whose path to the World Series took a detour to Japan, improved to 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four starts this postseason.
“I knew my stuff was pretty good,” Vogelsong said. “I was really pumped up to be out there.”
Vogelsong induced two early double plays, then faced his stiffest test in the fifth.
The bases were loaded with one out when Vogelsong fanned rookie Quintin Berry. That brought up Cabrera, honored on the field before the game with an actual blue-and-gold crown for his Triple Crown year.
With the fans chanting “M-V-P!” and likely sensing the whole Series was riding on this at-bat, Vogelsong seemed completely calm while chewing gum. He won the matchup, too, getting an easy popup that prompted Cabrera to slam his bat to the ground and elicited cheers in the San Francisco dugout.
Lincecum took over with two outs in the sixth, and the two-time reliever looked as if he had been coming out of the bullpen his whole life.
Closer Sergio Romo finished off the combined five-hitter with his second save of the Series.
Blanco punctuated the ninth inning with his latest fancy grab, a sprinting catch into foul territory in left field.
Combined with Madison Bumgarner’s effort in Game 2, San Francisco threw the first consecutive shutouts in the Series since Baltimore in 1966, when Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker and Dave McNally pitched three straight to finish off the Dodgers.
Shut out only twice all year, the Tigers once again looked lost at the plate. When fan favorite Prince Fielder struck out in the eighth, some boos bounced around Comerica Park. Big hitters with teeny numbers, Cabrera and Fielder are a combined 3 for 19.
Only one team in baseball history has overcome a 3-0 deficit in the postseason, with Boston doing it in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees.
“Well, you don’t really have to tell them anything. They can count,” Leyland said. “They’re big guys, they know what the situation is.”