For six innings, Game 2 of the 2012 World Series was the Bumgarner & Fister Show.
This was pretty surprising for a couple of reasons. It was surprising to see Madison Bumgarner pitching so well for so long, considering that he hadn't pitched well since late August; and in his two previous postseason starts, he'd been hammered pretty good. It was surprising to see Doug Fister pitching so well for so long because ... Well, this is one of those times when a .gif is better than a hundred words ...
That happened in the second inning. Essentially, Fister just shook it off and kept pitching. And pitching well. If not as well as Bumgarner; while the heroic hurlers matched zeroes for six innings, Bumgarner struck out eight Tigers, compared to only three K's for Fister.
That said, the biggest threat in those first six frames was mounted by the Tigers. Prince Fielder led off the second inning, and Bumgarner plunked him on the shoulder. Delmon Young came up next and shot a grounder down the third-base line, fair and through the on-the-field bullpen. For some reason, third-base coach Gene Lamont waved Fielder around third, and the play at home was close ... but not quite close enough, as Marco Scutaro's relay throw to Buster Posey was just in time to nip Fielder and forestall the contest's first run. Instead of scoring and having runners on second and third with nobody out, the Tigers were still off the board and had just one runner aboard and one out. Worse, Bumgarner breezed through the next two batters to escape with no damage.
So it was still scoreless after six innings. Fister had thrown 107 pitches in those first six innings but, with righty-hitting Hunter Pence leading off the bottom of the seventh, Fister went back to the mound. Pence has been in a slump for some months now, but he wound up singling. That got Fister out of the game, and lefty Drew Smyly in.
Smyly was in because he's a lefty, and the Giants had three lefty hitters coming up. But Smyly walked the first of them, Brandon Belt. The second of them, Gregor Blanco, wanted to lay down a sacrifice bunt, and finally did bunt ... for a single, as the ball was perfectly placed along the third-base line, 40 feet from the plate, to load the bases.
The third of them, Brandon Crawford, slapped a ground ball to shortstop that became an easy double play, but Pence did cross the plate with the game's first run. Bruce Bochy, looking for more, sent up pinch-hitter Ryan Theriot in place of Bumgarner. Smyly struck him out, though.
In the top of the eighth, Santiago Casilla took over on the mound, and retired the Tigers in order.
In the bottom of the eighth, Smyly issued a couple of walks and Octavio Dotel another, and Hunter Pence made the score 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.
The Giants scored their runs on a double-play grounder and a routine fly ball. But the Tigers collected only two hits, and got only two runners as far as second base. They were shut out only twice during the regular season, but have now been whitewashed twice in this postseason.
The Tigers were favorites, but now they're faced with a must-win situation in Game 3, Saturday night. They'll be at home, with right-hander Anibal Sánchez going against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.