Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong escaped trouble three times as San Francisco moved one win from its second title in three seasons with a 2-0 win over the Detroit Tigers today.
The Giants, who now lead 3-0, became the first team to toss consecutive shutouts in the Series since Baltimore ended 1966 with three straight against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I'll say this: The club is playing well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Vogelsong became only the third pitcher to make four straight starts in a single postseason in which he allowed no more than one run, giving up five hits in 5 2-3 innings with four walks and three strikeouts.
No team has ever blown such a 3-0 lead in the World Series. And with the way Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and the Giants are pitching, it seemed unlikely the Tigers would even score a run, yet alone win a game.
"Well, it's a good situation, but there's nothing been done yet," Bochy said. "It's a number, just like I said about two. Now it's three. But that's not the Series."
Gregor Blanco hit an RBI triple and trotted home on Brandon Crawford's single in the second inning, and that was ample for the Giants.
After playing a nearly perfect Game 3, the Giants will turn to "Mr. Perfect" Matt Cain to try for a sweep Sunday against Max Scherzer.
Vogelsong, a career journeyman whose path to the World Series took a detour to Japan, improved to 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four starts this postseason. He induced two early double plays, then faced his stiffest test in the fifth.
"I knew my stuff was pretty good," Vogelsong said. "I was really pumped up to be out there."
The bases were loaded with one out when Vogelsong fanned rookie Quintin Berry. That brought up Cabrera, honored on the field before the game with an actual blue-and-gold crown for his Triple Crown accomplishments.
With the fans chanting "M-V-P!" and likely sensing the whole Series was riding on this at-bat, Vogelsong seemed completely calm while chewing gum. He won the matchup, too, getting an easy popup that prompted Cabrera to slam his bat to the ground and elicited cheers in the San Francisco dugout.
Lincecum took over with two outs in the sixth, and the two-time reliever looked as if he had been coming out of the bullpen his whole life and shut down the Tigers.
Closer Sergio Romo finished off the combined five-hitter with his second save of the Series.
Blanco punctuated the ninth inning with his latest fancy grab, a sprinting catch into foul territory in left field.
And when fan favorite Prince Fielder struck out in the eighth, some boos bounced around Comerica Park. Big hitters with teeny numbers, Cabrera and Fielder are a combined 3 for 19 against the Giants.
The fearsome Tigers have totaled a mere three runs and 15 hits while hitting .165 in three games, and were shut out twice in a row for the first time since April 2008.
Only one team in baseball history has overcome a 3-0 deficit in the postseason, with Boston doing it in the 2004 American League championship series against the Yankees.
"Well, you don't really have to tell them anything. They can count," Leyland said. "They're big guys, they know what the situation is."
With their second straight 2-0 victory, the Giants won their franchise-record sixth straight postseason game.
Combined with Madison Bumgarner's effort in Game 2, San Francisco threw the first consecutive shutouts in the Series since Baltimore in 1966, when Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker and Dave McNally did the trick against the Dodgers.
For the Tigers, it was the sixth straight Series loss dating to 2006 against St. Louis. They got a fine effort from pitcher Anibal Sanchez this time, but it wasn't enough against these Giants.
During the Giants' early two-run burst, Detroit's body language said all you needed to know about this Series. At one point in-between pitches, Cabrera put his hands on his hips at third base, shortstop Jhonny Peralta scuffed the dirt, second baseman Omar Infante turned his back to the infield, Fielder stared down at first.
The Comerica crowd quickly fell silent. Desperate to cheer for anything, the fans hollered for a long, albeit routine, flyout by Delmon Young.
Then again, this was all new for the Tigers and their fans. They never trailed in the ALCS sweep of the Yankees, but have never led against the Giants.