But it was close, and it took good fortune. Blanco threw toward relay man Brandon Crawford, the shortstop, and the ball went over his head — right to second baseman Marco Scutaro, who was backing up. Scutaro fired home, and Buster Posey’s sweeping tag caught Fielder — whose left foot appeared to catch in the dirt — in an area that was difficult to miss: his rear.
That cut down the Tigers’ only real scoring chance of the night. Bumgarner never again allowed two base runners in an inning.
“He just had a pretty determined look on his face tonight,” Leyland said.
Fister, though, was just as determined. Blanco’s liner came with two outs and a man on in the second. Nothing — not Fister’s glove, not his hand, not a stray mosquito — got between the ball and Fister’s head.
“I was scared to death,” Leyland said.
Immediately, Fister began answering questions from athletic trainers to determine his fitness to remain in the game. He struggled neither with those answers nor with the Tigers hitters. Leyland finally came and got him after Hunter Pence sent his 115th pitch into left field for a single that led off the seventh.
That set up the winning rally off Detroit reliever Drew Smyly, a left-hander sent in to face three consecutive left-handed hitters. He walked the first, Brandon Belt, to get to Blanco. At 3-1, he tried to bunt a fastball for a sacrifice. It headed to the third base line — and stopped there. An out became a hit to load the bases.
“I wasn’t really trying to do that,” Blanco said. “I guess it was meant to be.”
At the moment, that’s how this postseason feels for the Giants: meant to be. With no one out, Leyland elected to play his infield back.
“We felt like we couldn’t give them two runs,” he said, and when Crawford came up and hit a grounder to second, the Tigers had their double play — but allowed Pence to score. The Giants tacked on an insurance run. The Tigers never got another base runner.
“Always, you want to have luck,” Blanco said. “That’s what we have right now.”
That, and starting pitching. In whatever order seems fit.