The equation remains the same for San Francisco: lights-out pitching plus a few timely hits equals victory, especially against the Tigers' maligned offense.
Jhonny Peralta tried to get his squad back into the game in the ninth inning, but Gregor Blanco made a beautiful sliding catch to preserve Sergio Romo's flawless inning to close the game. Romo was able to earn the save, completing an excellent game overall.
Both starting pitchers threw well on the night, but Ryan Vogelsong got the W. He threw 5.2 shutout innings, striking out three and walking four in cold temperatures. As ESPN Stats & Info shows, Vogelsong doesn't mind chilly weather:
Even more impressive is this statistic from San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman:
Vogelsong = fourth pitcher ever with four consecutive postseason starts allowing one or no earned runs. Last was Schilling in 2001.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) October 28, 2012
His excellent outing was continued by the Giants bullpen, allowing it to overshadow Anibal Sanchez's dynamic start for Detroit. Sanchez allowed two runs in seven innings, and also struck out eight batters.
Early runs came in the second inning for the Giants. Gregor Blanco smacked a triple to deep right-center field, driving home Hunter Pence in the process. Brandon Crawford was able to single home Blanco, putting the score at 2-0 in favor of the Giants.
Blanco has had a very good series. From diving catches, relay throws, precise bunts and timely triples, the left fielder is doing everything you could ask from a role player.
The Tigers had their chance in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Quintin Berry and Miguel Cabrera failed to deliver. Berry struck out followed by Cabrera's pop-up to Crawford to end the inning. That added to this ESPN Stats & Info fact:
Correction to note-- Tigers are 1-for-7 in bases-loaded, 2-out situations this postseason (not 0-4) #WorldSeries— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 28, 2012
From there, the Giants bullpen was able to slam the door. What's even better is Tim Lincecum's sustained performance. Lincecum threw 2.1 shutout innings, striking out three batters in the process.
Now facing a three-game deficit, the Tigers are up against it. Max Scherzer will throw in Game 4, and he's been excellent throughout the postseason. But he must face Matt Cain who will also be ready to go.
Everything seems to be going the Giants' way. From Vogelsong's start to Lincecum's contributions out of the bullpen, San Francisco is clicking on all cylinders. ESPN's Jayson Stark shed light on how good Lincecum has been:
Lincecum's last 3 relief outings: 21 hitters faced, zero hits, 9 strikeouts. That'll work! #sfgiants— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 28, 2012
The Giants offense hasn't erupted since their eight-run Game 1, but they're still able to get timely hits when the time calls. If you believe in the baseball gods, this squad epitomizes it. They mesh, click, gel or whatever you want to call it. Either way, it works.
It's tough not to think about a sweep at this point, unfathomable as it was just a couple days ago. San Francisco is playing flawless baseball, and anything less than a Worlds Series title seems equally unfathomable.