SAN FRANCISCO – These are the things so hard to explain in baseball, and just a few of the many reasons the San Francisco Giants are two wins away from a world championship.
In the fifth inning of San Francisco’s 9-0 victory in Game 2 of the World Series at AT&T Park, Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler crushed a ball to center, nearly 399 feet from home plate. It was a home run. Had to be.
But the ball bounced off the top of the wall and its backspin carried it into the glove of Andres Torres. Kinsler had a double and incredulously stood on second base. He was stranded there by Matt Cain, the Giants’ starter, who has yet to allow an earned run this postseason. Quite a break, right?
“It really was,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
In the bottom half of the inning, Edgar Renteria crushed a 91-mph. C.J. Wilson fastball. Renteria, the 33-year-old shortstop who has been around the game long enough to require a double take when informed of his age, had hit one home run in 93 days. On Thursday, he hit another.
And that was the difference in a tight game that unraveled in the eighth when San Francisco sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs.
“It’s Halloween,” Renteria said. “Something can happen.”
OK, it’s not Halloween until Sunday, but maybe that is the only way to rationalize the sudden outburst of the San Francisco offense. The Giants, who scored 20 runs in six games against the Phillies in the NLCS, have scored 20 runs in two World Series games.
San Francisco has a two-games-to-none lead, and in the previous 51 times that has happened in the World Series, the team with the lead has won 40 times.
“It’s nice to do it a little bit easier,” Bochy said. “As you know, we don’t do things easy. Really, it was a tight game going into the eighth inning there. The big inning certainly helped. But every pitch, every play was so important there for the most part.”
After 18 runs, 25 hits, six errors, and 12 pitchers in Game 1, the two teams played baseball a tad bit more deserving of the Fall Classic – until the eighth inning. That’s when three Rangers relievers walked four straight batters in an absolute meltdown.
The rest of the Giants’ offense is revitalized as well. As Guillermo Mota, the least-used pitcher on the staff, pitched the ninth inning to seal the rout, the sellout crowd at AT&T Park chanted “Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!”
San Francisco needs two more wins to make that happen, but there is no shortage of confidence now.
Giants 9, Rangers 0
LOB—Texas 7, San Francisco 5. 2B—Kinsler (1), A.Torres (2), C.Ross (1). 3B—Rowand (1). HR—Renteria (1), off C.Wilson. RBIs—A.Torres (1), A.Huff (2), Uribe 2 (5), Renteria 3 (3), Rowand 2 (2). SB—Andrus (1). S—C.Wilson. RLISP—Texas 6 (Andrus, C.Wilson, Kinsler 2, J.Hamilton, Francoeur); San Francisco 3 (Uribe, M.Cain, F.Sanchez). RMU—A.Huff 2.
|C.Wilson L, 0-1||6||3||2||2||2||4||3.00|
|M.Cain W, 1-0||72/3||4||0||0||2||2||0.00|
|Ja.Lopez H, 1||1/3||0||0||0||0||0||0.00|
IR-S—D.Oliver 1-1, D.Holland 1-1, M.Lowe 3-3, Kirkman 2-2, Ja.Lopez 1-0. IBB—off M.Cain (Moreland). WP—M.Cain. T—3:17. A—43,622 (41,915).