Gregor Blanco’s bunt single dribbled about halfway down the third base line and stopped inches fair, next to the white chalk. Several Tigers stood over the ball, almost in disbelief.
The Giants are getting all the good bounces so far this World Series, and they’re in control largely because of them.
Blanco reached on that perfect bunt in the seventh inning and the Giants went ahead moments later on Brandon Crawford’s bases-loaded double-play ball. San Francisco ended up beating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Thursday night in Game 2.
Blanco ran to first as third baseman and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, catcher Gerald Laird and Smyly converged on the ball but it settled on the dirt — a space of maybe six inches — between the chalk and the grass.
Now, because of plays like that, the Giants are going to the Motor City for Game 3 on Saturday with a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
San Francisco also made a great play at the plate to save a run in the second, and had Prince Fielder scored then Detroit might have grabbed some early momentum on the heels of an 8-3 loss in Wednesday’s opener.
After Fielder was hit by a pitch from Madison Bumgarner leading off the second, Blanco — who made a pair of pretty diving catches in left field during Wednesday’s win — chased down Delmon Young’s double but overthrew the first cutoff man. Second baseman Marco Scutaro wisely hustled over to third base, however, and caught Blanco’s throw before making a perfect relay home to catcher Buster Posey just in time to nail a sliding Fielder at the plate.
Omar Infante hit a leadoff single in the fourth but Pablo Sandoval made a nice play to snare Cabrera’s sharp liner. Infante was later thrown out trying to steal second.
Sure, the Giants made it this far with sparkling defense down the stretch. But a few good hops never hurt.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has acknowledged that getting some breaks along the way can make a huge difference in October, on the big stage when the stakes are high. And he would know, he took San Francisco to a championship two years ago.
On Wednesday in the Series opener, Angel Pagan had a double that bounced off the bag at third and shot into left field. In Game 5 of the NL championship series last Friday at St. Louis, Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn fielded an easy comebacker in the fourth inning and quickly turned to try to start a double play at second base. Instead, his throw caromed off the bag and the throwing error allowed a run to score in the Giants’ four-run inning.
Barry Zito — the Game 1 World Series winner — wound up pitching his team to a 5-0, season-saving victory.
San Francisco flew home to the Bay Area trailing the defending champions 3-2 and won two more to reach its second World Series in three years — with help from another bizarre ball in Game 7, of course.
Hunter Pence’s broken bat made contact with the ball three times, sending a slicing liner toward shortstop that fooled St. Louis’ Pete Kozma and went through for a double. Two runs scored, then a third crossed the plate when center fielder Jon Jay made an error, breaking the game open.