EXTRA BAGGS: History says sweep, but don't sleep on Tigers, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: History says sweep, but don't sleep on Tigers, etc.

DETROIT The Giants are making history in so many wayswhile taking a three-to-none edge in the World Series, but this statistic mighttop them all:

The Detroit Tigers are the first AL team to be shut out intwo consecutive World Series games since the 1919 Chicago White Sox. And as weall remember from history, those hitters on the take were actually trying tomake outs.

The Giants are a win away, they haven't trailed in three World Series games and their second title in three years looks like a mortal lock: Of the 23 previous teams to takea 3-0 lead in the Fall Classic, all 23 have won. Not only that, but 20 of thoseteams pulled off the victory in Game 4 to complete the sweep.

No team down 3-0 has even managed to extend the series toGame 5 since 1970.

RELATED: San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series page

But the Giants continue to say the right things.

We arent sleeping on anybody, said closer Sergio Romo.But its within reach. Were in a position we honestly believed we should bein all season long.

This Game 3 victory behind Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum andRomo was a bigger deal than you might think. If the Tigers had pulled it out,they would come to Comerica Park on Sunday with a little more resolve andbelief as well as right-hander Max Scherzer, who has 18 strikeouts in 11innings this postseason.

And Justin Verlander, his hiccup in Game 1 aside, is linedup to save the Tigers season after that.

Itll still be a tough task for the Giants to clinch overthe next two days here in the Motor City, given the two pitchers theyll befacing. Its not like Matt Cain was razor sharp despite his impressivelinescore in Game 7 of the NLCS, either.

Bottom line: The Giants cant assume this series is overyet, even though the Tigers will have trouble finding any hopeful precedent.

Brandon Crawford came up with another big, RBI hit. Makethat five games out of six that the Giants have collected an RBI from theirNo. 9 hitter. The others were all knocked in by pitchers, of course.

Crawford is hitting just .209 this postseason, but hesgetting his hits when theyre needed most. Hes driven in seven runs on hisnine hits.

And he continues to play flawless defense, aside from onebadly rushed throw in the eighth inning.

Of all the Giants players that national writers andreporters are seeing for the first time, Crawford is the one who seems to beopening the most eyes. He plays on the West Coast and hes not a .300 hitter,so its hard for people in other time zones to appreciate what he doesdefensively on an everyday basis. Theyre seeing it now.

From the second half on, I dont know whos played a bettershort, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Just getting that sense of belonging,hes really grown as a player and thats what you want to see. Hes gettingsome big hits for us and hes a solid, all-around player. Hes just gettingbetter and better.

Tim Lincecum will be a starting pitcher next season. Just incase you were wondering.

But my goodness, hes been downright Smoltzian out there in relief. Ina way, Lincecums acceptance of his bullpen role, and the coaching staffsprescience in believing he could have an impact if utilized that way, speaks toeverything that makes Bochy the Giants most successful manager since JohnMcGraw. He evaluates a player's skills, puts them in the best position to utilize those skills, and cultivates enough belief, trust and goodwill to get them to buy in fully.

One more win, and Bochy will join McGraw as the only Giantsmanagers to win two World Series championships.

The Giants are the first World Series team to have three starting pitchers allow a total of one run or less over a three-game span since the 1905 Giants, who had Christy Mathewson and "Iron Man" Joe McGinnity.

I wonder if "Iron Man" Joe believed in the power of RallyEnchiladas.

Ryan Vogelsong already had fond memories of Comerica Parkbefore winning his World Series debut.

It was here last season that Giants manager Bruce Bochy toldVogelsong that he made the NL All-Star team a moment of validation for apitcher who was the opening-day starter at Triple-A Fresno and had beenreleased by the Phillies and Angels Triple-A clubs the previous year.

Yeah, that crossed my mind, Vogelsong said. When wewalked in for the workout yesterday, I thought about it when I walked by thisoffice. But yeah, I mean, what an amazing experience. I was thrilled to deathbefore the game even started just to have this opportunity. Im just glad I wasable to have a solid game and come out on the right side.

I passed by Jim Leyland on his way out of the interview roomand he looked like he couldve lit a cigarette by sticking it in his ear.

Maybe its because the first question was second-guessinghim for crowding his infield in the second inning.

And what about being down 3-0? What does he tell his team?

You dont tell them anything, Leyland said. They cancount.

Hey, fun fact! The Giants are 31-13 on the road since the All-Star break.

Last words from Delmon Young or is it last rites?

Im either going back to San Francisco to play Game 6 orIm going back to Beverly Hills, Young said. Id like to go back to SanFrancisco, but the odds are against us right now.

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

SAN FRANCISCO — In the bottom of the eighth inning Monday, with the Giants finally running away with one, Johnny Cueto started blowing into a giant wad of bubble gum. He held two hands out, ready to catch remnants of an explosion as Brandon Crawford and Kelby Tomlinson looked on and smiled. 

A few minutes later, players started migrating to the dugout rail as they have done in each of the three starts Ryder Jones has made. They are ready to cheer on a rookie’s first big league hit, even if the wait has been an excruciating one for the third baseman. 

Bruce Bochy likes to say that your personality is better when you’re winning, and his players certainly showed that Monday in snapshots here and there. They woke up to a report that there were fractured in the clubhouse, caused in large part by the new closer. They denied it, they met as a group, and then, finally, they won. 

Jeff Samardzija pitched as he has for two months, the top of the lineup came through over and over again, and Brandon Crawford paced a golden night with the gloves. A 9-2 win over the Rockies was just the second since June 11 and it snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Rockies. Any win is meaningful at this point, but this one seemed to mean just a little bit more given the drama of the day. 

“Despite what people might think, we still have a pretty good group here and we get along just fine,” Crawford said. “We’re all rooting for each other.”

It’s one thing to support teammates off the field, and there’s been no indication that the Giants aren’t doing that. It’s quite another to be hand-in-hand between the lines, and for much of this season, Samardzija has been on an island. 

The right-hander has been Bochy’s best pitcher since Madison Bumgarner went down in the hills outside Denver. But he entered Monday with a 2-9 record and 4.74 ERA inflated by faulty defense. He hasn’t grumbled, but he has grown accustomed to the worst, and when Nolan Arenado bounced a ball deep to the hole in shortstop with two on and two outs in the third, Samardzija figured the game was probably tied. 

“I’m thinking maybe they charge it in the outfield and maybe make a play at home,” Samardzija said. “But with a guy like that at shortstop, things change so fast.”

Crawford scooped the ball on the edge of the grass. He would have liked nothing more than to make an otherworldly throw to first to nail his World Baseball Classic teammate, but he knew the best chance was at third. A couple of days ago, Crawford and Jones discussed how the rookie should cover third on such a play. Jones played it perfectly, retreating in time to catch Crawford’s inning-ending throw. 

“The best thing (about Crawford) is he doesn’t even talk about it,” Samardzija said.

No, Crawford put the spotlight on Jones.

“That’s a pretty heads-up play,” he said. “We talked about it and he was there. It was a funny coincidence.”

The play held the lead, and the Giants kept pushing. The top four hitters in the lineup finished with 10 hits, six RBI and six runs. Brandon Belt had an RBI triple in the five-spot. Crawford drove in a run behind him. Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson added insurance from the bottom. Bochy watched it all from the top step and saw a group collectively relax.

“Just quit fighting it so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this offense. There’s no reason they can’t put consistent runs on the board. Tonight I just thought the at-bats were so much better and the focus was. Once it started rolling, guys felt better about themselves, and it just got contagious.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies


Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies


SAN FRANCISCO — On a day that started with controversy, Giants players called a meeting following batting practice. Perhaps they were talking about when and where to stretch. Perhaps a reminder was given to keep clubhouse complaints in the actual clubhouse. 

Or, perhaps, the players just decided that enough was enough. 

In a rare display, the Giants put a clean and complete game together. They beat the Rockies 9-2 at AT&T Park, getting just their second win since June 11 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Rockies. 

Jeff Samardzija continued his hot streak, the lineup was opportunistic and flashed some power, and the defense sparkled at times. Here are five things to know from the throwback night … 

—- Samardzija walked off to a standing ovation after throwing 112 pitches. He was charged with two earned in 6 1/3 innings. Ignore the record and ERA for a second — his FIP is 3.37 and his xFIP is 2.95. He really is having a very good and underrated season. 

—- Here’s another one for your Samardzija file: Over the past two months, he has 82 strikeouts and three walks. 

—- It was a good day in the race for another Brandon Crawford Gold Glove. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few in the National League who even approaches Crawford, was traded to the Rays. Crawford added to the reel by gunning a runner down on third and making a nifty spin-and-throw in the fourth to rob Ian Desmond of a hit. 

—- There are nights where Denard Span looks like a game-changer, and this was one of them. He had a single, walk and triple in his first three plate appearances, scoring twice as the Giants built a 5-0 lead. He was spry in center, too 

—- Nolan Arenado was 0 for 4. Apparently that’s legal now. (It was actually his ninth 0 for 4 or worse against the Giants, in 81 games.)

—- Bonus sixth fact since the Giants won a game: Sam Dyson, acquired basically for free, is the new setup man. That didn’t take long, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Dyson gave up a single but struck out the other three batters he faced.