By Ronald Blum/The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — Madison Bumgarner pitched two-hit ball over seven innings, Brandon Crawford drove in the go-ahead run with a double-play grounder after a key bunt stopped just fair along the third-base line and the San Francisco Giants beat the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Thursday night to take a 2-0 World Series lead.
Bumgarner, who lost both his starts in the NL playoffs, struck out eight and walked two, and Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo finished with perfect relief.
Hunter Pence led off the seventh with a single off Doug Fister, and reliever Drew Smyly walked Brandon Belt. Gregor Blanco’s bunt stopped on the dirt up the third-base line, 3 to 4 inches fair. With the infield in at the corners, Crawford grounded to second baseman Omar Infante.
Pence added a sacrifice fly in the eighth off Octavio Dotel.
Forty-one of 52 teams to take 2-0 leads have gone on to win the title. The Giants swept the first two games at home two years ago against Texas en route to their first championship since 1954.
When the Series resumes in Detroit on Saturday night, midseason acquisition Anibal Sanchez starts for the Tigers and Ryan Vogelsong for San Francisco. The temperature in the Motor City is expected to be in the low-to-mid 40s.
After tying the Series record by homering three times during San Francisco’s 8-3 win in the opener, the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval was 1 for 3 with a sixth-inning single and an intentional walk.
It was the first time a double-play grounder scored the tiebreaking run in the last lead change of a Series game since the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mike Scioscia against the Yankees in Game 3 in 1981, according to STATS LLC.
Detroit’s best scoring chance came in the second, when Prince Fielder was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Delmon Young’s double. Fister remained in the game after getting hit on the head by Blanco’s line drive in the bottom half.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy showed faith in Bumgarner, who was 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in two playoff appearances, instead of starting two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, relegated mostly to a relief role after going 10-15 during the regular season.
Bumgarner responded with his first scoreless outing since mid-August, and improved to 2-0 in the World Series with 15 scoreless innings and just five hits allowed. He started a tight, 86-pitch effort that includes 54 strikes by joining Christy Mathewson (1905) and Carl Hubbell (1933) as the only Giants to open a Series game with consecutive strikeouts.
Before energetic fans waving orange-and-black pompons and towels, Romo got a cushion. Angel Pagan walked off Smyly starting the eighth and stole second with one out. Sandoval was intentionally walked, and Dotel walked Buster Posey unintentionally. Pence lofted a fly to medium right field as Pagan scored easily.
Fister, who had a 1.35 ERA in two postseason starts without a decision, gave up three hits, struck out three and walked one. He pitched shutout ball for 6 1-3 innings in his previous start, against the Yankees in the AL championship series.
Fielder was hit on the right shoulder by a pitch leading off the second and Young, the ALCS MVP, lined the ball down the left-field line. Blanco picked up the ball after it caromed off the fence in foul territory and threw to second baseman Marco Scutaro near third base.
Fielder sped up as he turned third base. As he slid late, his left leg popped up off the dirt, and he was tagged on the butt by Posey. Dan Iassogna, working his first Series game behind the plate, made a demonstrative out call, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out of the dugout to argue briefly.
Fister was struck just above the right ear by Blanco’s line drive with one on and two outs in the bottom half. The ball ricocheted into short center for a single.
“Whoa!” Iassogna said as he came out from behind the plate, adding: “Doug, you OK?” when he got to the mound.
After Fister was checked out by Leyland and pitching coach Jeff Jones, he loaded the bases with a walk to Crawford. Bumgarner hit a soft looper to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, ending the inning. That started a streak of 12 straight outs for Fister before Sandoval’s single.
San Francisco entered with RBIs by pitchers in four straight games, a first by a team in a single postseason, according to STATS LLC. No major league team has accomplished the feat during the regular season since Colorado in June 2001.
Infante reached on a single off the glove of the shortstop Crawford starting the fourth. Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera lined out to third, jumping in frustration, and Fielder flied out to the warning track in left field. Infante was caught off base by Bumgarner and thrown out at second by first baseman Brandon Belt, another slide that came up short.
Cabrera walked on a full count in the seventh, and Bumgarner induced a 1-6-3 double-play grounder from Fielder, with the pitcher pumping a fist.
Detroit, seeking its first Series title since 1984, made one change among its position players, starting Gerald Laird behind the plate and batting eighth in place of Alex Avila.