SAN FRANCISCO — Game 2 will be known for The Bunt.
Gregor Blanco’s sacrifice attempt turned base hit was placed slightly up the third base line, and it tight-roped between the dirt and the chalk. This was a Giants grounds crew special, a ball that Detroit catcher Gerald Laird tried to coax foul.
It loaded the bases in a scoreless game in the seventh inning and a very unexciting double-play grounder by Brandon Crawford scored the only run the Giants would need in a 2-0 victory that provided a 2-0 lead in the World Series.
“I was just hoping to move the runners along and when it went fair I said, ‘I did it, I did it!’ ” Blanco said. “I’ve been working on bunting all year and I knew I had to be better to help my team. It feels good that happened.”
The Tigers played their infield at double-play depth instead of trying to cut the run down at the plate.
“We were absolutely thrilled to come out of that inning with one run,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “I just felt we had to take our best shot to come out of it with one run. I thought it was a no-brainer. I can’t let them open the game up. You think you have a chance with six outs to go to get a run.”
The other play that turned the tide in Game 2 also involved Blanco and (who else?) Marco Scutaro.
In the second inning, Tigers starter Doug Fister hit Prince Fielder with a pitch and Delmon Young doubled. Fielder tried to score and was thrown out on a nice relay by Scutaro to the plate, with a nice sweep tag by Buster Posey.
“We got just a little overaggressive,” Leyland said. “It was a bang-bang play. I thought the umpire might have missed it and I thought he was in but the umpire made a terrific call. He got it right.”
Young’s hit got away from Blanco in left field, and that’s when third base coach Gene Lamont felt he could take a shot with the lumbering Fielder.
The strange thing was that Blanco overthrew shortstop Brandon Crawford. But Scutaro was backing up. Scutaro fielded the throw and threw a strike to Posey.
“I don’t know what he was doing there,” Blanco said of Scutaro. “I’m just glad he was there.”
Scutaro said, “All of the relays on balls hit into the left-field corner, it’s my responsibility to go over there. We’re not worried about second base — the hitter has second. The shortstop goes out and I’m just behind him in case the left fielder made a bad throw and it goes high, which is exactly what happened. I can help if the throw is high or if it kicks away from the shortstop on a short hop. It’s my responsibility. I was just backing up on that play and I was happy I was there so we could get that out.”
“Defense can win you games,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “It’s all about executing and tonight we did a great job.”
Fister, who lasted six innings and allowed four hits and one run, took a liner off the head in the second inning but picked himself off the mound and convinced the Tigers trainers and Leyland he was good to go. And he didn’t lie.
“I was scared to death when it happened,” Leyland said. “I didn’t realize how it hit him. It kind of grazed him. I want to say on the side of the head. But he recovered really quickly, said he was fine. Sometimes when something like that happens you might finish the inning and then you come out and have a bad headache but that didn’t happen.”
Posey led off the second with a single, but Fister secured two outs with a fly ball to center by Hunter Pence and a strikeout of Brandon Belt.
After being hit by Blanco’s liner, Fister walked Crawford to load the bases, but Madison Bumgarner popped out to end the threat.
Bumgarner has been somewhat of a project for Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti. He pitched early in the NLCS, but was shut down because he was having some issues with his delivery. Those problems seem corrected.
Bumgarner went seven innings and allowed two hits, walked two, and struck out eight.
He entered the game with 13 scoreless innings in World Series play, and started off by striking out Austin Jackson and Omar Infante.
Fister, who struck out an AL-record nine straight batters in a game in late September, was pretty dominant after the second inning. Pablo Sandoval was pretty quiet in this one after socking three home runs in the opener, limited to a two-out single in the sixth.
The run that scored on Crawford’s double-play grounder was charged to Fister, breaking a string of 12⅓ scoreless innings for the righthander. Fister hadn’t allowed a run since the seventh inning of Game 2 against Oakland in the ALDS.
It was then a battle of the bullpens.
Santiago Casilla pitched the eighth for the Giants and retired the side in order. Sergio Romo worked a clean ninth to earn the save.
After Posey walked to load the bases in the eighth, Pence added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to right field.Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo