Line drives back through the box have resulted in some of the most harrowing moments on a baseball diamond — both for a defenseless pitcher and spectators in the stands and watching from their living rooms.
San Francisco’s Gregor Blanco ripped a line drive up the middle. Fister had no chance to get his glove up to protect himself but he was able to turn his head just before impact, causing the ball to hit the back of his head. (Video on MLB.com)
“I didn’t see any stars. I didn’t have a headache,” Fister said after the game. “I told them there are two runners on, two out, it’s Game 2. And I’m going to get the third out.”
Based on Fister’s reaction, Fox play-by-play man Tim McCarver initially believed the pitcher had gotten his glove up in time. But after seeing the replay, all he could muster was an “oh man.”
“I think it hit his glove. He got that glove up. We were talking about Jim Leyland talking about his athleticism. You better be a good athlete in this situation,” McCarver said as the replay began to roll. “Watch the glove. No he didn’t get it… it did not get it up. Hit him on the side of the head. My gosh. Oh boy.”
Fister stayed in the game and after walking the next batter, he set down the next 12 Giants hitters.
“I was scared to death when it happened,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I didn’t really realize exactly how it hit him. It kind of grazed I want to say the side of his head, the back of his head. It was a scary moment, obviously, but he was fine.”
Fister allowed just one run on four hits over six innings, but Madison Bumgarner was better, striking out eight Tigers and allowing only two hits over seven shutout innings to power San Francisco to a 2-0 win.
The Tigers head home to Detroit facing a daunting 2-0 hole. Over the last 30 years, 13 teams have taken a 2-0 World Series lead. All 13 have gone on to win the championship.