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.

Puerto Rico in scarce supply of hair dye amid World Baseball Classic fever

Puerto Rico in scarce supply of hair dye amid World Baseball Classic fever

AN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Pharmacies and beauty stores across Puerto Rico are running out of hair dye with even a top economist joining men going blond in support of the island's baseball players who bleached their hair ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

What began as a joke among team members playing in California has spread across the island in a trend that spiked Tuesday just hours after Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands in 11 innings to reach the championship game undefeated in the tournament, which is held every four years. Puerto Rico will play Wednesday night in the final against the United States, which defeated Japan.

"Ever since they began winning, this has not stopped," said Myrna Rios, a manager at a Sally Beauty Supply store in the capital of San Juan. "We have run out of the product in most of our stores."

Copper blond, platinum blond, golden blond - all shades of blond (even burnt orange) are turning heads in a U.S. territory where the majority of men have thick, dark hair. Bald men dyed their beards or goatees in a nod to Puerto Rico coach Carlos Delgado.

"We have been able to unite our country with our blond hair," said star Carlos Correa, who hit a two-run homer and scored the winning run against the Netherlands. "That's what we want as players to unite our country, our people, and give them the best."

Men ranging from news anchors to university students to professionals have embraced a trend that has sparked the rallying cry of "Team Rubio!" or "Team Blond" in Spanish.

Among them is civil engineer Christian Rodriguez, who dyed his beard Saturday after visiting four different pharmacies to find the product he needed. At first, he didn't dye his hair as well because he thought it would be too much at church on Sunday. But he noticed six male churchgoers had dyed their hair blond and decided to take the plunge, calling a hair stylist friend to help him go platinum.

Rodriguez complained of an intense burning sensation during the two-hour process and sent pictures to his wife, who responded with the emoticon of a monkey with its eyes covered.

"Anything for my island!" he said as he lifted his arm to cheer the team.

Rodriguez then sent a picture of his dyed hair to his mechanic, who responded with a selfie taken underneath a car of him smiling with a bleached beard.

Puerto Rico's undefeated run to the championship has boosted the spirit of an island mired in a decade-long recession that faces a rocky recovery amid looming austerity measures for its government. Even young students have been sporting blond do's, prompting public schools to suspend them until the island's education secretary stepped in and said in a letter made public Tuesday that they should be allowed to dye their hair during the tournament.

"We wanted to do this to unite the team, and then the people of Puerto Rico, they started dying their hair, too," pitcher Edwin Diaz said. "I saw that there were some students that were suspended from school. I think they shouldn't be doing that because it just means that we have united our nation."

Even the prominent Puerto Rico-based economist Sergio Marxuach joined the trend, sporting yellow hair as he walked into a seminar in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, drawing laughs.

"My youngest son asked me, 'Why did you paint your hair like Donald Trump?'" he recalled with a laugh. "If this team can give us hope, we're going to need it given what's coming down the pipe."

Giants spring training Day 38: Cain still on track for fifth starter job

Giants spring training Day 38: Cain still on track for fifth starter job

MARYVALE, Ariz. — After a series of questions the other day about getting extra rest between starts, Madison Bumgarner smiled and pointed at the personalized calendar taped to his locker. He said he simply operates by the schedule set out by pitching coach Dave Righetti.

A glance at the calendar in Matt Cain’s locker might show a reason why the longest-tenured Giant is still in a good position to win the No. 5 starter spot despite continued spring struggles. Because they have two off days sandwiching a two-game series in Kansas City in the middle of April, the Giants can potentially use their No. 5 starter just twice until April 25, a span of 20 games.

If there’s any concern about Cain’s ability to hold up during the regular season, the early slate could help. The Giants can throw Cain against the Padres and Diamondbacks to start the season, and if it's not working out, they can go a stretch with just their top four as they reevaluate. 

"We'll see once we get a little closer how guys are doing, but it certainly gives you some options," manager Bruce Bochy said. 

Cain has been preparing all along to start April 7 at Petco Park. That hasn’t changed.

“That’s what I’m looking at,” he said. “That’s the only thing I’m preparing for, to make sure I’m ready to go 100 pitches.”

Cain had another mixed-bag day against the Brewers. The first inning was full of loud contact and Cain was charged with three runs on four hits. But he settled down from there, allowing just one run over the next four innings. In all, Cain allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out four. He said he tried to change speeds more often after the early ambush. 

“I was maybe getting the timing different for them,” he said. “Those guys were getting balls where they could hit them. You’ve got to make a quick adjustment to that, and I had to do that.”

Cain threw 70 pitches, another sign that he’s locked in for April 7. His competition, Ty Blach, has not been fully stretched out this spring. 

TRAINER'S ROOM: Will Smith will head to Los Angeles on Thursday to get a second opinion on his left elbow strain. The Giants will then know if Smith needs Tommy John surgery, which would end his season. Eduardo Nuñez flew back to San Francisco with Smith earlier in the week to get a corisone shot in his sore right shoulder. He's back, but he'll be down a few days. 

GAME RECAP: Hunter Pence has been slumping for several weeks, but he got on the board in the sixth with a double that spun off the end of his bat and down the first base line. A classic Pence hit ... Jae-gyun Hwang hit a two-run shot to right-center ... Steven Okert did some nifty work to keep his spring ERA at 0.00. With runners on first and third and no outs, he got a double play and a fly ball to left.

ICYMI: Barry Bonds has arrived. Here is a story about his return to the Giants, and here’s video from his media session this morning. 

GOOD NEWS: First base coach Jose Alguacil returned to camp Wednesday morning, and he said he’s only a few days from returning to game action. Alguacil, who had surgery earlier in March after taking a line drive off the face, was cleared for full activity. Hensley Meulens, Dave Groeschner and Taira Uematsu also returned from a stint in the WBC. 

FLASHING THE LEATHER: Aaron Hill started the prettiest double play of the spring by snagging a Hernan Perez liner with a dive and making a perfect throw to second baseman Gordon Beckham. Hill later smashed a double into the left field corner. That dude is making the team. 

QUOTABLE: "I figured Barry is in town, so I'd show him how it's done." -- Denard Span on a very long two-run homer he hit to right.