Who said the Giants couldn't hit?
In their two games against the powerful Texas Rangers, the Giants held them to just seven runs, including a 9-0 shut-out at AT&T Park Thursday night.
As for the Giants?
All the Giants did was score 20 runs in two games, 13 of them with two outs.
Most of Thursday's game was a far cry from last night's offense barrage, with 18 runs being scored by both teams on Wednesday. Fortunately for the Giants, they were on the winning end of that game, by a score of 11-7, but that game did show that the Rangers will not go down quietly in this series.
They didn't show that same fight on Thursday.
That was because Matt Cain was fantastic in his seven and two-thirds inning of shut-out work. Cain, who has yet to give up an earned run in the post-season, yielded just four hits and two walks, while striking out just two.
The Rangers' starter, C.J. Wilson, was a formidable opponent; however, he would take the loss after giving up a long fifth-inning home run to Edgar Renteria. The score was just 1-0 at the time, but that was all the Giants needed. Wilson would leave the game in the seventh with a blister on his hand.
Darren Oliver was summoned in to relieve Wilson, who left with Cody Ross on first with nobody out. Aubrey Huff was the first hitter against Oliver, and he grounded out to first, but advanced Ross to second. With two outs, Juan Uribe came up and blooped a single into center field, scoring Ross and extending the Giants' lead to 2-0. At the time, the run felt huge for the Giants.
Then came the oddest inning you will ever see in a World Series.
The bottom of the eighth inning started pedestrian for the Giants, with both Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez striking out against reliever Darren O' Day. Buster Posey came up and singled to center field. Little did anyone know that this innocent two-out single would start something big.
O' Day would go on to walk the next two hitters. Then stepped Aubrey Huff to the plate with the bases loaded. Huff would go on to coax a walk, forcing in a run and making the score 3-0.
The Rangers summoned Derek Holland to face Juan Uribe. Holland would take the count to 3-2, but Uribe resisted swinging at a low pitch, taking ball 4. This would force in a run, increasing the Giants' lead to 4-0. Edgar Renteria came to the plate next and added to the Rangers' misery, singling to right field. Two runs scored, and the Giants were up 6-0. Aaron Rowand would add a two-run triple in the inning, followed by an Andres Torres RBI single. Before it was all said and done, the Giants led 9-0. All seven runs in the eighth inning scored with two outs.
The Giants had a close call in the top of the fifth inning. Ian Kinsler led off the inning with a deep drive to center. The ball appeared on television to be over the fence for a home run, but it actually hit the top of the wall for a double. Cain would pitch around the lead-off double, stranding Kinsler at second base.
Cain would also run into trouble in the top of the sixth inning, while the score was still 1-0. With runners at second and third with just one out, Cain induced a pop-out from Nelson Cruz and then a fly-out to right from Ian Kinsler.
The Giants now have a commanding 2-0 lead in the World Series. No matter what happens in Texas, the Giants are assured to bringing the series back to AT&T Park. It would be nice if the Giants could become world champions at home, but they surely won't mind if their first world championship since 1954 gets done in Texas.
I have never seen the ball bounce a team's way as many times as I've seen it happen for the Giants. Tonight, the Giants were 1 inch away from falling behind 1-0 in the fifth inning, but Ian Kinsler's deep drive hit off the top of the wall. Although the Rangers had a great scoring opportunity with a runner at second and nobody out, Cain would not allow the run to score, a huge momentum shift, in favor of the Giants, in the game. I thought Brooks Conrad's defensive lapses were lucky, but a ball that's off the top of the wall and an inch away from a home run might be a little more fortunate considering how rare that is.
Matt Cain is simply amazing. It's his first time ever pitching in the playoffs, and he has yet to give up a run. Tonight, he only had two strikeouts, but effectively pitched to contact, especially against this Rangers powerhouse offense. Not to mention that he encountered the gauntlet in the sixth inning, and got through it no problem. He really bore down and threw a nasty cut-fastball on the inside corner to Nelson Cruz, who hit a harmless pop-out to Aubrey Huff at first. Runners were at second and third with one out at the time. Ian Kinsler came up next with two outs, and Cain got away with a location mistake, but Kinsler just popped it to Cody Ross for the out.
The way the Giants have had a new hero every day is simply amazing. Who would of thought that Edgar Renteria would be getting big RBIs in the World Series for the Giants? In fact, he would get three in Thursday's game. Bruce Bochy only inserted Renteria into the lineup because Pablo Sandoval was struggling mightily at the plate, and he sure is responding. Last night, Uribe was the hero. I wouldn't be surprised if the hero tomorrow was somebody else, or even two people.
This and That
Regular season or post-season, the Rangers remain winless at AT&T Park. The Giants scored 13 two-out runs out of 20 in the World Series. Both Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz failed to get hits, ending their 12-game post-season hitting streaks. The Giants have never lost a World Series while being up 2-0. The Rangers have not given up two runs on bases loaded walks in an inning since Rich Harden did it on April 7 against Toronto. The World Series continues Saturday at 3:57 p.m. Jonathan Sanchez will square off against Colby Lewis.