2012 World Series: SF Giants Do the Little Things to Come Up with a Big Victory

Dan MoriCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2012

Madison Bumgarner held Detroit scoreless for seven innings
Madison Bumgarner held Detroit scoreless for seven inningsEzra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants played small-ball Thursday night to defeat the Detroit Tigers, 2-0, and take a two-game lead in the series.

But this World Series is far from over.

Game 2 was played like a typical Giants game at AT&T Park. Runs were at a premium and defense and execution won the game for the home team.

The Tigers got great starting pitching from Doug Fister, who also showed a great deal of courage after being hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Gregor Blanco in the second inning. Fister would go on to pitch six strong innings. He left in the seventh after giving up a single to Hunter Pence.

Madison Bumgarner was also in top form. After several poor outings, Bumgarner was given several days' rest to work on his mechanics. The strategy worked, as a rejuvenated Bumgarner pitched seven strong innings, allowing only two hits and two walks.

In the second inning, on a drive down the left-field line, the ball hit the side wall and bounced sharply into the field of play. Gregor Blanco had to adjust and ran to get the ball. He threw over the first relay man, Brandon Crawford, but hit the second relay man Marco Scutaro right in the chest. Scutaro made a perfect throw to Buster Posey, who made a nice sweep tag to nail Prince Fielder at the plate and prevent the early Detroit lead.

Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont made a critical mistake by sending Fielder in that situation with no outs, and the relay and double cut-off formation worked to perfection for San Francisco. The execution was solid and that stifled a potential big inning for the Tigers.

The second example of great execution occurred in the seventh inning, with Hunter Pence on second and Brandon Belt on first. Blanco was trying to sacrifice and made a perfect bunt down the third-base line. For a moment, the ball looked like it would roll foul, but it didn't and Blanco was safe at first. 

Blanco laid down an excellent bunt and even if the Tigers had made the play, the Giants still would have had men on second and third with one out. Again, good fundamental play. The Giants had the bases loaded with no outs.

The Giants took the lead by executing in the clutch during the seventh—the team's third great example of execution on the night. With Detroit's infield back, all the Giants needed was a ground ball to a middle infielder or a medium-deep fly ball.

Crawford was at the plate and hit the grounder to second baseman Omar Infante, who turned the double play. This allowed Pence to score and the Giants to take a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning. The ground ball in that situation was what the Giants needed, whereas a strikeout or pop-up would have been a killer.

With the Tigers having only two more innings to score, manager Jim Leyland decided to play the infield back, which ultimately cost them the winning run. With the Tigers having their No. 6 to 8 hitters up in the eighth inning, and the Nos. 9, 1 and 2 hitters up in the ninth, the game ended with Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera standing in the on-deck circle. 

The final example of excellent execution by the Giants occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning. With Angel Pagan on third base and one out, Pence came to the plate. He had looked terrible for most of the postseason, swinging wildly at breaking pitches down and away. 

Facing veteran Octavio Dotel, Pence was down to a very quick 0-2 count. Pence fouled off several tough pitches, then was able to lift a fly ball to medium-deep right-center field. The sacrifice fly scored Pagan and the Giants had added an important insurance run. Again, good execution paid off for the Giants.

The Giants took care of the little things—strong defense, good pitching and the attention to detail made all the difference for Bruce Bochy's crew.

As I mentioned earlier, the series is far from over, but the Giants have beaten the Tigers in a high-scoring slug-fest and now in a low-scoring, small-ball type of game. With Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain going in the next two games, you have to like the Giants' chances.