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Giants can do anything and everything, and lead the World Series two games to none

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

SAN FRANCISCO -- Their bunts stay fair. Their pitchers get fixed.

The Giants seem to be able to do anything and everything right now, and if they can do it all for two more wins they'll take away their second World Series title in three years.

They're halfway there already, after Thursday night's 2-0 Game 2 win over the Tigers -- which came courtesy of the bunt that stayed fair and the pitcher that got fixed.

It's hard to say which was more amazing, or more impressive.

You'd probably have to say the pitcher, because you're not supposed to be able to fix a broken pitcher in the postseason.

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The Giants just did. Madison Bumgarner, so bad last week that he wasn't allowed to start a second time in the NLCS, was so good Thursday that he pitched the Giants right into the driver's seat in the World Series.

Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti worked to get Bumgarner back to driving down off the mound towards the plate. The Giants couldn't be sure it worked, but they took a chance. Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain were needed to win the final two games against the Cardinals, so the choice for Game 2 was basically Bumgarner or Lincecum.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy chose Bumgarner, and like everything else Bochy and the Giants have done lately, it worked.

Bumgarner had some help from the Giants defense, and more help from some debatable Tiger decisions and some unquestionably bad Tiger baserunning. But he ended up with seven shutout innings, allowing the Tigers just two hits.

Through six innings, neither Bumgarner nor Tigers starter Doug Fister had allowed a run. The Giants finally scored in the seventh -- with the help of that bunt that stayed fair.

The situation was this: Runners at first and second, nobody out, bottom of the seventh, with the Tigers' Drew Smyly pitching to Gregor Blanco. Smyly fell behind in the count, but Blanco bunted the 3-1 pitch down the third-base line.

Catcher Gerald Laird got to it, but it seemed to be rolling foul (and it would be a tough play at first base), so he let it go.

Somehow, it stayed fair. As he crossed first base, Blanco jumped in the air, then threw his fist in the air in triumph.

The game wasn't over. Technically, it was still scoreless.

Already, it felt like the Giants had won.

Soon enough, they were ahead. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided to play his infield back, willing to concede the game's first run if he could get a double play.

It was a gamble, but Leyland knew that while a one-run deficit could be overcome in the final two innings, a three- or four-run gap would have been too big.

Brandon Crawford did indeed ground into a double play, and the Giants had the lead.

It was a tribute to Fister that they didn't lead before that. Blanco's second-inning line drive caromed off Fister's head and shot into center field, but Fister remained in the game and didn't allow another hit until the sixth.


 
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