Matt Cain helps Giants to 9-0 win in Game 2 of World Series
Friday, October 29, 2010; 12:45 AM
SAN FRANCISCO - Whatever type of baseball it is that the San Francisco Giants have trotted out in the first two games of the World Series, with their big, breakout innings and their coasting-home, late-inning romps, it is not who they really are. Fans of this team come to AT&T Park expecting torture - the self-deprecating label the Giants have given to their unique brand of ball - and those fans might be asking for a refund if this other brand of ball, the one on display the past two nights, wasn't so much ridiculous fun.
Who are these Giants, and what are they on the verge of doing? On Thursday in Game 2, for the second night in a row, they flat-out crushed the Texas Rangers, proud champions of the American League - this time by a score of 9-0 - and are now, amazingly, halfway to the city's first World Series title.
After a travel day Friday, the series resumes Saturday night in Arlington, Tex., where the reeling Rangers will try to regroup behind right-hander Colby Lewis, who will face Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez.
A Giants team that hadn't scored more than six runs in a game all postseason as the World Series dawned, has now put up a six-spot in the fifth inning of Game 1 - against Cliff Lee, no less - and on Thursday night, a seven-spot in the bottom of the eighth. An offense that scored a total of only 19 runs in a six-game NLCS has now scored 20 in two nights.
"We have a group of hitters who throughout their careers have been great hitters," said Hensley Meulens, the Giants' hitting coach. "At some point, I thought they would all get together and put some runs on the board. And there's no better time than now."
Thursday night's run-explosion, against the soft middle of the Rangers' hapless bullpen, turned a game that was beginning to feel slightly torture-esque - it was scoreless through the first half of the game, and the Giants led by only two runs entering the eighth - into a second consecutive laugher.
"It was a torture game," said Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff, "up until the bottom of the eighth."
Giants right-hander Matt Cain, for whom "torture" has come to mean "don't give up more than two runs, or you'll lose," was the beneficiary of Thursday night's offensive outburst - although he hardly needed it, tossing 72/3 shutout innings and keeping his ERA this postseason at a spotless 0.00 in three starts.
"He's such a bulldog out there," Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said.
"He's our horse," Huff said.
The taut pitchers' duel the world was expecting in Game 1 - when the juicy Cliff Lee-Tim Lincecum matchup devolved into a messy affair of battered aces and shoddy defense, with a total of 18 runs scored - revealed itself for a time in Game 2 in the persons of Cain and Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson.
The stadium lacked the crackling, sizzling atmosphere of Game 1, but the 43,622 on hand Thursday night were rewarded with a subtle, tension-packed masterpiece of a duel, at least for awhile, with Cain and Wilson trading zeroes until Edgar Renteria's tie-breaking homer off Wilson in the bottom of the fifth.