SAN FRANCISCO (MCT) — It’s starting to look like 2010 all over again.
Two years ago, a supposedly overmatched Giants team threw up an impenetrable wall of pitching against the Rangers, dispatching the powerful AL champions in five games.
Madison Bumgarner, who starred in that Series, reprised that role on Thursday night, pitching seven innings as the Giants beat the Tigers, 2-0, at AT&T Park. The Giants, as they did in 2010, lead the Series 2-0.
San Francisco outhit the Tigers 5-2 in Game 2. Game 3 is Saturday night in Detroit, where Anibal Sanchez will try to get the Tigers on the board against Ryan Vogelsong, who was brilliant in Game 6 of the NLCS.
Doug Fister, who took a liner off his head in the second inning, was the hard-luck loser. His bullpen allowed an inherited runner to score the first run on a double play with the bases loaded in the seventh.
Fister, 0-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two previous starts this postseason, allowed one run and four hits in six innings.
Hunter Pence, who scored the seventh-inning run, hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to drive in Angel Pagan for a 2-0 lead.
Bumgarner, who struck out six in eight scoreless innings in Game 4 of the 2010 Series as a 21-year-old, struck out eight.
This game couldn’t have been more different from Game 1, a surprising blowout in which the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval took center stage by blasting three home runs.
“That’s a big term that’s used quite a bit,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before the game when asked about any momentum his team might have gained from Game 1. “But I think it starts with the guy on the hill. Your pitcher usually sets the tone and creates that.”
Bumgarner and Fister were equal to the task. As good as Bumgarner was, Fister might have been more impressive.
With two outs and one on in the second, Gregor Blanco lined a 79-mph changeup straight off Fister’s head, with the ball ending up in center for a hit. Fister, after being evaluated by manager Jim Leyland and the training staff, stayed in and walked Brandon Crawford to load the bases. But Fister retired Bumgarner, the first of 12 straight. Sandoval ended that streak with a two-out single in the sixth.
The Giants got to Fister in the seventh. Pence led off with a single and Leyland brought in lefty Drew Smyly to face lefthanded-hitting Brandon Belt. After Smyly walked Belt, Blanco dropped a bunt on a 3-and-1 pitch. His dribbler hugged the third-base line and stayed fair, loading the bases.
Crawford grounded to second, and Omar Infante, though playing at double-play depth, had time to throw home to get Pence. He momentarily looked that way but instead conceded the run, starting a 4-6-3 double play as the Giants made it 1-0.
Santiago Casilla retired the Tigers in order in the eighth and Sergio Romo did the same in the ninth.
The Tigers’ best chance at a run came and went in the second. Bumgarner hit Prince Fielder with a pitch to start the inning, and Delmon Young pulled a double over third base. As the ball bounced off the divider in foul ground and back into leftfield, coach Gene Lamont waved Fielder home.
Blanco, who made two diving catches in Game 1, made a nice relay to second baseman Marco Scutaro, who threw perfectly to Posey. His sweep tag beat the sliding Fielder by inches, and the lumbering first baseman was correctly called out by Dan Iassogna.