Giants follow big win with small win for 2-0 lead

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Giants follow big win with small win for 2-0 lead

SAN FRANCISCO -- Game One of the 2012 World Series was played big, almost comedically so. Three homers from Pablo Sandoval on pitches most players would disdain as being beneath their scientific approach screams bigger than bigger than life.So of course Game Two was very very small, almost to the point of being subatomic. Yes, the result was the same Giants win, 2-0, this time to take a lead of two-games-to-just-watching for the Detroit Tigers but the details that separated victory from defeat were subtle to the point of undetectable.INSTANT REPLAY: Giants ride Bumgarner to 2-0 series lead
Madison Bumgarner, the starting pitcher who gave Giant fans the yips, stifled the Tigers on two hits over seven innings. The only threat the Tigers did mount ended because the Tigers, already sensing that scoring would be difficult, tried to get Prince Fielder to score from first on Delmon Youngs second-inning double. He didnt, because Gregor Blanco, Marco Scutaro and Buster Posey made two throws faster than Fielder could cover the last 90 feet.But the Giants, who nearly formed a Baseball Bugs conga line Wednesday night, had to get their runs in the tiniest way possible -- with a single, walk, line-hugging bunt and a double play grounder in the seventh, and then three walks and a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

RELATED: San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series page
And both wins still look the same if you squint your eyes hard enough. At least that would be Brandon Crawfords position.The Giants shortstop handled more questions about his role in the BlancoScutaroPosey relay (Blanco threw the ball over Crawfords head to Scutaro, essentially) then about his double play grounder that scored Hunter Pence with the winning run. But since it was his best double play grounder ever, he talked happily about it, from the Blanco bunt that rolled just inside the third base line (Oh, I thought it was a great bunt, he laughed) to his own work.Frankly, I didnt really know what to expect, he said. I mean, I think Id seen him (Tiger pitcher Doug Fister) a couple of times in Double-A, but that was it. I wasnt trying to let a lot of things go through my head. I just tried to approach it as a two-strike at-bat.In other words, he walked to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out in the second game of the World Series with the score 0-0 and thought of . . . well, nothing.Okay, next to nothing.I sort of thought if I put the ball in play on the ground, theyd probably go for two rather than come home, he said. I mean, I looked up, and they were playing back, so I sort of knew what they wanted to do.And to the Tigers delight AND despair, he delivered that.We played double play depth because we felt that we couldnt give them two runs, Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. To be honest with you, we were absolutely thrilled to come out of that inning with just the one run, absolutely thrilled. I mean, we had to score anyway. You give them two, it makes it tougher, obviously, but we felt like we didnt want them to open it up. We got the double play ball and we got out of it, and it actually worked really good for us.Well, except for the double play producing the only run the Giants would actually need. San Francisco scored again in the eighth, denying the locals the satisfaction of knowing that the last double play that produced the only run of a World Series Game was Game 7 in 1962.Yes. The Bobby Richardson game. The one where the Yankees beat the Giants when Willie McCoveys two-out line drive with Matty Alou at third and Willie Mays at second went right at Richardson, killing San Franciscos chances of winning their first Series 48 years before they actually did.So Brandon Crawford was denied a chance to bookend San Francisco baseball history because of Pences bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Phil Coke in the eighth. He was also denied a chance to be in on the relay that may have crushed Detroits spirits.But he delivered the tiny little run that created the tiny little win that will disappear next to the comic-book win the night before. The win that counts just the same as the one before it. The one that sends the Giants to Detroit with a choke hold on a series that skewed heavily Tiger before it began.And yes, in the World Series, wins come in one size. The one that fits all.

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

SAN FRANCISCO — The momentum generated by Christian Arroyo and Michael Morse late Wednesday night lasted just a few hours. By the end of this four-game series, the Giants were left with a harsh reality: Even with two injections of new blood, they are not hitting. 

Arroyo drove in another run Thursday, but that was it for a lineup that couldn’t support Matt Moore’s effort. The bullpen, which had kept Bruce Bochy’s guys in close games all series, finally broke in the 10th. The Dodgers walked away with a 5-1 win and a split of a series that was rather uninspiring for both sides. 

After scoring 10 runs on the last road trip, the Giants scored just eight during the four games against the Dodgers. Three of those RBI came from Arroyo, called up Monday. A fourth came from Morse, called up Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get this offense going,” Bochy said. “It’s a better offense than what we’re doing right now. You need to find a way to put a few runs on the board. We had our chances, we just couldn’t find ways to get the big hit.”

With Denard Span out for at least another week, Bochy moved Hunter Pence to the top of the lineup. His temporary No. 3 hitter against lefties, Eduardo Nuñez, has one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Buster Posey, the cleanup hitter, is batting .357, but he has driven in just three runs this month. With two on and one out in the eighth, he bounced into a double play. The production closer to the bottom of the order has been nonexistent, leading to constant shuffling that has moved Nuñez and Belt to left at times. Bochy said the staff will continue to search of a lineup that works. 

“You talk about it and do thing to adjust, and it will get better, but right now we’ve got some guys who aren’t swinging the bat well, to be honest,” he said. “You look at the order and we don’t have a lot of guys swinging well.”

The list does not include Arroyo, the rookie who will eventually have to deal with adjustments from pitchers. It doesn’t appear that’ll be a problem. Arroyo has been making adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. He did so against Sergio Romo for his first career homer and said he learned about the depth of Julio Urias’ curveball during their first two battles Thursday. In the sixth, the 21-year-old Arroyo drove in the game-tying run against the 20-year-old Urias. The lefty had walked Posey to face Arroyo, who singled up the middle. 

“He handles himself so well,” Bochy said. “They walked Buster and he smokes the ball. This kid has shown he’s not in awe. The upper deck, the bright lights, he comes to play.”

Arroyo’s effort briefly backed Moore, who was sharp in seven innings. Moore struck out eight, six of them looking, but he didn’t get much help and the bullpen fell apart in the 10th with a series of walks.

Bochy challenged his starters on Saturday at Coors Field and they responded with a strong series back home. The bullpen was tested during the first week but — Thursday’s result aside — it has settled down. The Giants are not as worried about their pitching as they were as they flew back from Denver. They know, however, that this team is going nowhere if two runs per game continues to be the nightly output. 

“We’ll tweak it again,” Bochy said of his lineup. “We'll see if we can get this thing right.”

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Quietly over the past couple of weeks, Bruce Bochy’s bullpen had started to settle. Bochy praised the group before Thursday’s game, noting that roles were being defined by pitchers who entered the series finale with the Dodgers with a 0.94 collective ERA this season. That changed in the 10th inning Thursday.

Three relievers combined to give up four runs on four walks and three singles. The implosion ended with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers and a split of this four-game series. 

For most of the game, this was a day when youth shined. Corey Seager celebrated his 23rd birthday with a solo homer in the first on a two-strike pitch from Matt Moore that caught the heart of the plate. The Giants will be dealing with Seager for years, and if all goes according to plan, there will be years of Julio Urias vs. Christian Arroyo battles, too. 

The 21-year-old third baseman won the first matchup, lining a single to center. Arroyo flew out in his second at-bat against the 20-year-old Urias, but they faced off a third time in a big spot. Brandon Belt drew a one-out walk in the sixth and went to third when a pickoff throw skipped down the line. After an intentional walk of Buster Posey, Arroyo lined another one back up the middle. Urias stuck his glove up but it ticked off and into center for a game-tying single. 

Arroyo ended the young lefty’s day. Moore was done after seven sparkling innings. He struck out eight, six of them looking. 

The game went to extras, and Cory Gearrin walked pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the 10th. Chase Utley was called up to bunt but he couldn’t get it down. Instead, he hit an infield single off Steven Okert that stayed true to the third-base line. After a walk of Yasmani Grandal, the third straight pinch-hitter, Andrew Toles lined a single to center to give the Dodgers a lead and the wheels soon came off. 

Utley alertly tagged up and scored on a pop-up to foul territory. Justin Turner’s single extended the lead to three and Hunter Strickland’s four-pitch walk of Chris Taylor pushed another across. 

Starting pitching report: Moore gave up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in his two previous starts, but the Dodgers had just two hits, the Seager homer and a Chris Taylor single. Taylor reached third with one out, but Moore got Scott Van Slyke and Cody Bellinger to go down looking. 

Bullpen report: Mark Melancon came on in a non-save situation for a second straight day and pitched a scoreless ninth. 

At the plate: Buster Posey’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. He twice bounced into double plays.

In the field: Posey chased a high pop-up down the right field line in the fourth, but he was going to come up short. Kelby Tomlinson came out of nowhere with the helping hand, making a running catch near the visiting bullpen. Posey smiled and shook his head as Tomlinson whipped the ball back to the infield. 

Attendance: The Giants said they sold out a 500th consecutive game.

Up next: The Giants have a three-city road trip coming up, so it’s time to take advantage of a weekend at home against the Padres. Jeff Samardzija and Luis Perdomo get the opener.