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.

Giants spring training Day 42: Blach still in the fifth starter mix

Giants spring training Day 42: Blach still in the fifth starter mix

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ty Blach is the young one in the race to be the fifth starter, but on Sunday he sounded like a veteran. Asked if he has gotten a hint one way or the other about his opening day role, Blach smiled.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day and trying to get better,” Blach said. “I’m enjoying the process and having fun.”

Smooth. 

Those days are adding up to a nice spring for Blach, the left-hander trying to unseat Matt Cain. While Bruce Bochy didn’t shed any additional light on the current lean, team officials hinted Sunday that this is not as open-and-shut as it seems. Matt Cain, who will start Tuesday, looked like a lock to be the fifth starter a week ago, but the Giants are considering all options because they have an off day during the first week and two more shortly thereafter. 

“We’ve had discussions every day,” Bochy said. “We’ve got some tough calls.”

The Giants are expected to announce their official rotation when they return home for the Bay Bridge Series. Whether he’s starting, long-relieving, or pitching in a completely new role, Blach has certainly done all he can to make sure he’s in the big leagues on April 2. He gave up two runs over six innings Sunday, walking one and striking out one while giving up seven hits. Blach has allowed 10 runs in 20 1/3 innings this spring, but four of those came when he was ambushed coming out of the bullpen one day.

“Wherever I’ll be, I know I’ll be in a good spot,” Blach said. “I’m just looking forward to getting the season rolling.

After pitching out of the bullpen most of the spring, Blach got his pitch count up to 85 on Sunday. 

“We’ve gotten him stretched out,” Bochy said. “That’s a solid, solid job. We’ve got guys stretched out where you want them. We’ve got some flexibility. We’ll see as we get close here which way we’ll go.”

POSITION BATTLES: The Giants will carry a backup for Denard Span, and for about a month it looked like Gorkys Hernandez would be that guy. But Hernandez has slumped so badly this spring that he went over the minor league facility Sunday to get a ton of extra at-bats, and Justin Ruggiano has emerged, reaching base in nine of his last 16 plate appearances. The plan a few days back was for Ruggiano to go to Sacramento and get 50 or so at-bats to see where he’s at, but this is another race that could change in the coming week. 

Cory Gearrin has done his part to hold off any charging relievers, throwing two sharp innings while going back-to-back for the first time this spring. 

FAMILIAR FACES: A rough day for a couple of longtime Giants. Ehire Adrianza and Gregor Blanco both have oblique injuries, hurting their odds of breaking with the Twins and Diamondbacks, respectively. Elsewhere, David Hernandez showed that he made a smart decision asking for his release. He was signed by the Braves. 

AROUND CAMP: Hunter Pence really does do all he can to make every single teammate feel welcome in the clubhouse. He spent some time with young right-hander Roberto Gomez on Sunday morning, learning a few Spanish phrases. When the players went out to warm up, Pence threw with Jae-Gyun Hwang. These are small gestures, but for the new guys, they matter. 

BARRY’S BACK: We all knew Barry Bonds would step into the cage at some point, and on a quiet Sunday morning, there he was. Bonds, 52, took about five or six easy hacks before crushing one out to deep right. He’s still got it. The other day, reporters asked Bonds if he could suit up in the WBC if asked. He said he can absolutely still hit, but he would need to DH and he would need a day or two off before games. Being a big league hitter is not easy, even if he always made it look that way.

 

Bonds dusts off swing, cracks home run during BP in Giants' camp

Bonds dusts off swing, cracks home run during BP in Giants' camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants knew Barry Bonds would step back into the box at some point. It happened Sunday, with Bonds taking a few cracks at BP pitches from Gary Davenport.

Bonds warmed up with a couple of lighter swings and then blasted a homer to deep right. That was enough, as the 52-year-old walked away with a big smile on his face. 

Bonds is in camp as a special instructor, and he still picks his spots to show off his legendary swing. When he was the Marlins' hitting coach last season, he beat slugger Giancarlo Stanton in an impromptu home run derby.